Lauren Fins was born in New York City, earned her B.A. degree at New York University, her M.S. degree at Colorado State University, and her Ph.D. at the University of California at Berkeley. She moved to Idaho in 1979 where she was a professor of Forestry at the University of Idaho in Moscow for 33 years. In addition to the more traditional forestry courses that she taught, Dr. Fins was one of three professors who developed and taught an undergraduate course entitled, "Fire, Myth and Mankind." In this course, students wrote and performed plays that integrated themes about fire and myth. Dr. Fins also developed and taught a seminar entitled “The Natural History and Culture of Chocolate.” In 2010, Dr. Fins spent 7 months in Costa Rica on a Fulbright fellowship that enabled her to develop a graduate-level course on chocolate and resulted in the publication of English and Spanish versions of an illustrated book titled “The History of Cacao and Chocolate.” Dr. Fins’ theatrical experience includes the Jewish Children’s Theater in New York, Idaho Repertory Theater, Moscow Community Theater, Washington State University’s Summer Palace, Regional Theatre of the Palouse, and productions sponsored by the University of Idaho Department of Theatre and Film.
Money doesn't grow on trees, but chocolate does! Archeological evidence indicates that chocolate was consumed by early meso-Americans at least 3,000 years ago. Chocolate was prepared as a frothy drink spiced with chilies or vanilla, was used in cultural ceremonies and its seeds were traded as currency. Europeans added sugar to the drink and used chocolate as medicine, and aphrodisiac and a stimulant. Americans today consume an average of 12 pounds of chocolate per person per year. In this presentation, Dr. Fins will explore the natural and cultural history of chocolate, including the social and environmental costs of this "food of the gods". OPTION: Chocolate tasting after the discussion enhances this experience. Please discuss this with Dr. Fins prior to booking and be prepared to reimburse her for the samples she supplies.