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Source: Revised GRE PDF 2nd Ed. Section 4; #20 (p. 70)


The author of the passage refers to the

While chocolate was highly esteemed in Mesoamerica, where it originated, its adoption in Europe was initially slow. There is a common belief that Europeans needed to “transform” chocolate to make it appetizing. However, while Spaniards did put sugar, which was unknown to indigenous Americans, into chocolate beverages, this additive was not completely innovative. Mesoamericans were already sweetening chocolate with honey, and the step from honey to sugar—increasingly more available than honey because of expanding sugar plantations in the Americas—is a small one. Likewise, although Spaniards adjusted Mesoamerican recipes by using European spices, the spices chosen suggest an attempt to replicate harder-to-find native flowers. There is no indication the Spaniards deliberately tried to change the original flavor of chocolate. The author of the passage refers to the use of honey primarily to identify the origins of an additive previously untried by Europeans, present an example of a product that was unknown to Europeans, correct the misapprehension that Mesoamericans used a sweetener that was not available in Europe, provide an example of an ingredient that was in the process of being displaced by a substitute, explain why the Spanish use of sugar in chocolate was not a sign of a need to transform chocolate

2 Explanations


Bilal Farooq

Hey guys, your video blacks out here. It may need updating. However, I did understand the video explanation. :)

Oct 7, 2016 • Comment

Cydney Seigerman, Magoosh Tutor

Hi Bilal! Thanks for letting us know about this :D I've let our content team know about the issue. At the same time, I'm glad you were still able to understand Chris's explanation! :D

Oct 8, 2016 • Reply


Chris Lele

Sep 22, 2012 • Comment


Hi, I do understand that E: "explain why the Spanish use..." is the best answer, but at first I chose D.
Is D incorrect because it says "(to) provide an example of an ingredient that WAS IN THE PROCESS OF being displaced by a substitute"? If it didn't mention "in the process of" would it have been correct?

Oct 10, 2018 • Reply

Sam Kinsman

Hi Yurika,

I can see why you would choose D. You could make the argument that honey was displaced by sugar. Although that might be true, this is not the point the author is trying to make. The passage is not about foods that were displaced. The passage is about whether or not chocolate was transformed by the Spanish. So the reason the author included that example was not to give an example of a food that was displaced - it was to explain why using sugar did not mean that the Spanish changed chocolate.

Oct 13, 2018 • Reply

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