Student View
Article
CLINT HANSEN
The History of Yum/When Chocolate Tasted Yucky

How chocolate became America’s favorite candy.

By Lauren Tarshis
From the September 2018 Issue
Lexiles: 540L, 500L
Guided Reading Level: N
DRA Level: 28

Story Navigation

Download and Print
Think and Read: Compare and Contrast

As you read both articles, think about how chocolate has changed over time.

The History of Yum

Courtesy of Hershey Community Archives, Hershey, PA

It all started with a smell—sweet and delicious.

The year was 1893. A man named Milton Hershey was in Chicago. He was a candy maker from Pennsylvania. He had come to Chicago to visit a huge fair. People from many countries had come to see inventions from all around the world.

It all started with a smell. It was sweet and delicious.

It was 1893. Milton Hershey was in Chicago. He was a candy maker. He was in Chicago to go to a huge fair. People from many countries had come. They would see inventions from all around the world.

A New Kind of Treat

From the moment Hershey entered the exhibition hall, he noticed a great smell that filled the air. What was it?

Hershey searched and searched. He walked around, sniffing the air. Finally, he found the source of the yummy aroma. Two men had a special machine. It was making something that few Americans had ever tasted: Chocolate.

Today, chocolate is everywhere. You can munch on chocolate bars, slurp up hot chocolate, and gobble many different kinds of chocolate treats.

But back in 1893, chocolate was almost unknown in America. If you were a kid in those days, you would have had many candies to choose from. Some favorites were peppermints, lemon drops, and jelly beans.

You wouldn’t have been able to buy chocolate, though. It was mainly sold in Europe. American candy makers hadn’t figured out how to make chocolate.

Hershey was in the exhibition hall. He noticed a great smell. What was it?

Hershey searched. He walked around, sniffing the air. Finally, he found the source of the yummy aroma. Two men had a machine. It was making something that few Americans had ever tasted: chocolate.

Today, chocolate is everywhere. You can eat chocolate bars. You can drink hot chocolate. You can try many kinds of chocolate treats.

But back in 1893, chocolate was almost unknown in America. In those days, there were many candies to eat. You could have peppermints, lemon drops, and jelly beans.

But you wouldn’t have been able to buy chocolate. It was mainly sold in Europe. Americans didn’t know how to make chocolate.

Courtesy of Hershey Community Archives, Hershey, PA

Check out what the first Hershey bar cost!

Secret Recipe

Milton Hershey wanted very much to become the first American chocolate maker. He bought that machine from the fair. He brought it back to his candy factory. Soon his company was making chocolate.

But Hershey wasn’t satisfied. Yes, his chocolates were tasty. But it was a dark and bitter kind of chocolate. Hershey wanted to make “milk chocolate,” which was sweeter and creamier. He just had to figure out how to make it.

His team worked for months. They made a lot of mistakes. But finally, they succeeded. They came up with the perfect recipe.

Milton Hershey wanted to become the first American chocolate maker. He bought that machine from the fair. He brought it back to his candy factory. Soon his company was making chocolate.

But Hershey wasn’t satisfied. Yes, his chocolates were tasty. But it was a bitter kind of chocolate. Hershey wanted to make milk chocolate. That was sweeter and creamier. He just had to figure out how to make it.

His team worked hard. They made a lot of mistakes. But then they succeeded. They had the perfect recipe.

Donald Nausbaum/Alamy

The town of Hershey is famous for its factory and theme park.

The Famous Factory

Hershey built a new factory in Pennsylvania. He also built a town for his workers. He called the town Hershey. By 1915, Hershey’s chocolate bars were one of the best-selling candies in the nation.

Milton Hershey died in 1945. But his company lives on. In fact, you can visit his factory and take a tour. If you go there, be sure to sniff the air. It smells sweet and chocolaty. It is the same delicious scent that inspired Milton Hershey more than a century ago.

Hershey built a new factory in Pennsylvania. He also built a town for his workers. He called the town Hershey. By 1915, Hershey’s chocolate bars were one of the best-selling candies in the nation.

Milton Hershey died in 1945. But his company lives on. In fact, you can visit his factory. If you go there, sniff the air. It smells sweet and chocolaty. It is the same scent that inspired Milton Hershey. 

When Chocolate Tasted Yucky 

Thousands of years ago, chocolate wasn’t so delicious. But many believed it had special powers.

Madlen/Shutterstock.com (Cocoa Bean); Maks Narodenko/Shutterstock.com (Chili Pepper); Seregam/Shutterstock.com (Honey); Paul Burns/Getty Images (Boy)

The first people to taste chocolate lived about 3,000 years ago. Their home was a rainforest in Central America. They discovered that they could eat the seeds of a cacao (kuh-KOW) tree. They roasted the seeds, then ground them up into a chocolaty powder. Next they mixed the powder with chilis and a drop of honey. This drink tasted like spicy dirt. If you were to have taken a sip, you would have spit it right out!

So why did anyone drink it?

People believed that drinking chocolate made them smarter and stronger.

Centuries went by. More people discovered chocolate. But it was so expensive that only the richest people got to eat it. It wasn’t until the 1800s that chocolate makers learned how to make it taste good.

Today, chocolate is popular around the world. And the truth is, some kinds of chocolate really can be healthy. Dark chocolate has nutrients and may be good for your brain and heart.

It turns out that those ancient chocolate makers were right. 

The first people to taste chocolate lived about 3,000 years ago. Their home was a rainforest in Central America. They found that they could eat the seeds of a cacao (kuh-KOW) tree. They roasted the seeds. Then they ground them up into a powder. Next they mixed the powder with chilis and honey. This drink tasted like spicy dirt. If you were to have taken a sip, you would have spit it right out!

So why did anyone drink it?

People thought that chocolate made them smarter and stronger.

Centuries went by. More people found chocolate. But it was so expensive. Only rich people got to eat it. It wasn’t until the 1800s that chocolate makers learned how to make it tasty.

Today, chocolate is popular around the world. And the truth is, some kinds of chocolate really can be healthy. Dark chocolate has nutrients. It may be good for your brain and heart.

It turns out that those ancient chocolate makers were right.

video (1)
Slideshows (1)
Audio ()
Activities (4)
Quizzes (2)
Quizzes (2)
Answer Key (1)
video (1)
Slideshows (1)
Audio ()
Activities (4) Download All Quizzes and Activities
Quizzes (2)
Quizzes (2)
Answer Key (1)
Can't-Miss Teaching Extras
Classroom Tips

For a fun approach to reading comprehension that’s perfect for September, try this truly inspired “Walkie-Talkie” strategy from one of our superstar teacher advisers!

Chocolate Around the World

When your students read our sidebar about the early days of chocolate, they might be surprised to see chocolate and chili peppers together. Let them know that cocoa and chili go together in many foods, like Mexican mole [MOH-lay] sauce. And today, many artisanal chocolate makers create chocolate with chili flavor!

Chocolate as Money? Wow!

One of the ancient cultures who were early fans of chocolate were the Mayans. Mayans valued chocolate so much that they used cacao beans as money!

Chocolate Today

This three-minute video walks your students through the fascinating process of making chocolate, from cacao bean to delicious chocolate bar!

More About the Article

Content-Area Connections

Social studies: U.S. history, world history
Science: technology, inventors

 

Key Skills

compare and contrast, key details, cause and effect, author’s craft, main idea, summarizing, drawing conclusions, vocabulary

Step-by-Step Lesson Plan

1. PREPARING TO READ

Preview Text Features/ Set a Purpose for Reading (10 minutes)

Have students look at pages 10-11 and 12-13. Ask volunteers to read aloud the title and subhead of the articles. Direct students to the labels on page 10 that say “Paired Texts” and “One topic, two texts.” Then ask students to identify the topic of both texts (the history of chocolate).

Point out the images and captions in “The History of Yum.” Call on volunteers to read the captions.

Direct students to the graphic at the top of page 13. Call on volunteers to read each caption and symbol from left to right. Ask: Why do you think this chocolate tasted yucky?

Preview Vocabulary (15 minutes)

We have highlighted in bold seven words that may be challenging and defined them on the page. Preview these words by projecting or distributing our vocabulary activity and completing it as a class. You may also play our Vocabulary Slideshow, where images and audio help students with comprehension and fluency.


Highlighted words: exhibition, aroma, satisfied, succeeded, centuries, nutrients, ancient

2. CLOSE READING

Reading and Unpacking the Text

First read: Students should read the article through one time for general comprehension.
Second read: Distribute the Close-Reading and Critical-Thinking questions. Preview them together. Ask students to read the articles again and answer the questions as a class or in small groups.

Close-Reading Questions (20 minutes, activity sheet online)

  • Read “A New Kind of Treat.” What was the first thing that Milton Hershey noticed about the chocolate made in the machine? (key details) The first thing he noticed was the smell of the chocolate. Why didn’t many American kids in 1893 eat chocolate candy? (cause and effect) It was mainly sold in Europe because Americans didn’t know how to make it. Why didn’t many American kids in 1893 eat chocolate candy? (cause and effect) It was mainly sold in Europe because Americans didn’t know how to make it.
  • Look at the first paragraph on page 11, column 2. What action words does the author use to describe how people today eat different kinds of chocolate? (author’s craft) She says that people munch, slurp, and gobble it. 
  • Read “Secret Recipe.” Why wasn’t Hershey satisfied with the first chocolate his team made? (main idea) The chocolate was dark and bitter. He wanted to make sweeter, creamier “milk chocolate.” Look at the picture of the ad for the first Hershey bar. How much would a child pay for this candy in 1893? (key detail) The chocolate bar cost either a nickel or a dime.
  • Read “The Famous Factory.” Why do we still remember Hershey? (summarizing) His chocolate bars became one of the best-selling candies in America. He built a town for his workers that is famous for its factory and theme park.
  • Read the first three paragraphs of “When Chocolate Tasted Yucky.” Why does the author say the early chocolate drink “tasted like spicy dirt”? (drawing conclusions) It was made with a chocolaty powder, chili peppers, and just a drop of honey. It probably tasted very bitter. Why did people drink this chocolate anyway? (key details) They thought it would make them smarter and stronger.
  • Read the last two paragraphs of the article.  What type of chocolate is good to eat? Why? (key details) Dark chocolate is healthy because it has nutrients that can be good for your brain and heart.

Critical-Thinking Question (10 minutes)

  • What is a main idea in both articles? (compare and contrast; key details) Both articles talk about the history of chocolate and why people have eaten it for thousands of years.

3. SKILL BUILDING

Connecting Texts

Distribute our compare and contrast activity. Have students work in pairs to complete it.


Discuss the writing assignment in the Think and Write box on page 13. Remind students to begin their paragraphs with a sentence that sums up the main idea. Have students complete the task in class or for homework.

Ask volunteers to read their paragraphs aloud in small groups.

Differentiate and Customize
For Independent Readers

Have students reread the articles independently. Ask them to make an ad for dark chocolate that explains why it’s good to eat. Have students discuss their ads in small groups.

For Small Groups

As they read the articles aloud, have students use sticky notes to mark the most important facts. Ask each student to think up a question based on one of the highlighted facts. Students can take turns asking and answering each question.

For Second-Graders

Have students listen to the audio version of the story as they follow along with their magazine or printout. (There is audio for all levels.) They should also play the Vocabulary Slideshow, which will aid in their comprehension and fluency.

For Advanced Readers

Ask students to imagine how chocolate tasted and smelled to Americans in 1893 and to people 3,000 years ago. Then have students write a four-line poem about eating either yucky or yummy chocolate. Ask them to share their writing in small groups.

For ELL Students

Play the Vocabulary Slideshow. Then have students listen to the lower-Lexile audio version as they read along. Ask students to mark words they don’t know and discuss them. Encourage students to use the new words to talk about candy that’s popular in their cultures.