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The Great Chocolate Migration

Column / The Human Palate

  • The Human Palate

    A Maya woman roasts cacao beans grown on her family’s farm in southern Belize. The family traditionally drinks cacao unsweetened but flavored with allspice.

    The Great Chocolate Migration

    Last fall, I was sipping Mexican chocolate at a chic little Singapore café. It was a local branch of a New York–based chain, which was started in Israel 20 years ago by a man who grew up with a love for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the wonderful tale by the British novelist Roald Dahl. My hot, frothy drink was modeled on the ancient forms of drinking chocolate …

  • The Human Palate

    King Ama Nune Benu of Boti sits on his porch, making a bag from fibers grown around him in the forests of West Timor, Indonesia.

    Airplane Food

    Late in January, I boarded a long-haul flight, 27 hours and 5 minutes, 9,405 miles, three connections. I packed emergency Larabars (food for quick energy), ordered gluten-free meals (a topic for discussion another day), and thought about my meeting with the king of Boti. Boti is a small kingdom in the Indonesian state of East Nusa Tenggara on the island of Timor. Centuries ago, this region was populated …

  • The Human Palate

    For many centuries, bison was served as a primary meat source for Native populations, including the Blackfeet tribe in present-day Montana.

    Meat Culture

    You might have heard: The Obama administration released its new Dietary Guidelines for Americans in January to an outcry. While the new rules tell us to limit our sugars, they do not directly advise less meat consumption (as originally proposed by the federal Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee). Health and environmental activists are accusing the government of caving to the meat industry—allowing politics to interfere with American health. But …

  • The Human Palate

    Health in a Rwandan Hospital Garden

    Hospitals have many tools at their disposal. A garden is not typically one of them (not in the healthcare system I am accustomed to in the United States, anyway). When I traveled to Rwanda last year on a fellowship through the International Women’s Media Foundation, I found a hospital treating malnutrition with compost and garden hoes. The Rwinkwavu District Hospital sits among an expanse of farmlands in eastern …

  • The Human Palate

    Food Is Health

    Food is health. I’ve known it since I was a kid growing up in Wisconsin. My dad was diagnosed with diabetes when I was a baby. His disease was both hereditary—he’d grown up watching his father jab himself with a needle every day—and dietary. “I was overweight, by quite a bit,” my dad recently told me. “Probably one of my biggest downfalls was cheese—used to eat an awful …