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Faculty Speaker Reception with Professor  John Henderson
November 13, 2015

When Money Grew on Trees: The Early History of Chocolate

Cornellians and guests enjoyed a dinner and lecture with John S. Henderson, Professor in the Department of Anthropology (College of Arts & Sciences). The reception was held at the Danish Cafe in Red Bank, where we ate a buffet dinner and sampled amazing chocolates and even beers made with a chocolate ingredient.

Chocolate is so iconic in American and European culture today that it is difficult to imagine life without it. However, chocolate and cacao can be traced deep into Mesoamerican history, and was unknown to the Western world until the 16th century. Professor Henderson delved into chocolate’s complex and rich story, from the cacao tree’s original cultivation in Mesoamerica, to its social, economic, medicinal and ceremonial uses among the Aztecs and their neighbors.

John Henderson '67 is Professor of Anthropology at Cornell University. He holds an AB degree from Cornell and MPhil and PhD degrees from Yale. He has taught anthropology and archaeology at Cornell since 1971, and has served as Director of Cornell's Archaeology and Latin American Studies Programs. Henderson studies early complex societies, especially in Mesoamerica. His fieldwork continues survey and excavation in the lower Ulua valley in Honduras.

Our Red Bank venue

Danish Cafe serving area