"In my particular way of specifying things I call amber chocolate chocolate for the afflicted, because each one of these various conditions which I have designated has something in common which resembles affliction."
M. Boussingault,1 a member of the French Institute, in an interesting paper printed in the "Annales de Physique et du Chimic" says: "Chocolate contains a very large proportion of nutritive matter in a small volume. In an expedition to a great distance, where it is imperatively necessary to reduce the weight of the rations, chocolate offers undeniable advantages, as I have had frequent occasions to notice. Humboldt recalls what has been said with reason, that in Africa rice, gum, and 1 Jean Baptiste Joseph Dieudonne Boussingault, French chemist, served in his youth on the staff of Bolivar, the liberator of South America.
butter enable men to cross the desert; and he adds that, in the New World, chocolate and corn-meal render the plateaus of the Andes, and the vast, uninhabited forests, accessible to man.
"In Central America, when they organize a river expedition, or traverse the forests, they prepare chocolate for provision with eighty parts of cocoa to twenty of coarse sugar, the composition being as follows : -
Phosphates and salts............................................
"Each man receives 60 grammes (about 2 ounces) of this chocolate per day, in which there are 12 grammes of sugar, 26 of butter, and 6 of albumen. It is a useful addition to the ration formed of beef slightly salted and dried in the air, of rice, of corn biscuit, or of cassava muffins.
"The infusion of tea, mate (Paraguay tea), and coffee are not, of course, to be considered as food. The amount of solid matter in them is very slight, and their effects are due only to their alkaloids.
"This is not true of chocolate, which is at the same time complete food and an active excitant, since it approaches in composition that model food, milk. In fact we have seen that in cocoa there is legu-mine and albumen, associated with fat, sugar to sustain respiratory combustion, phosphates, which are the basis of the bones, and - what milk does not have - theobromine and a delicate aroma. Roasted, ground and mixed with sugar, cocoa becomes chocolate, the nutritive properties of which astonished the Spanish soldiers that invaded Mexico."
A competent writer, in the last edition of the "Encyclopaedia Britannica," says: "The constitution upon which the peculiar value of cocoa depends is the theobromine, an alkaloid substance, which till recently was supposed to be distinct from, though closely allied to, the theine of tea and coffee. It is now, however, known that the alkaloid in these, and in two or three other substances similarly used, is identical, and their physiological value is consequently the same. The fat, or cocoa-butter, is a firm, solid white substance, at ordinary temperature, having an agreeable taste and odor, and very remarkable for its freedom from any tendency to become rancid. It consists essentially of stearin, with a little olein, and is used in surgical practice, and in France as a material for soap and pomade manufacture.
"The starch grains present in raw cocoa are small in size, and of a character so peculiar that there is no difficulty in distinguishing them under the microscope from any other starch granules. As an article of food cocoa differs essentially from both tea and coffee. While only an infusion of these substances is used, leaving a large proportion of their total weight unconsumed, the entire substance of the cocoa-seeds is prepared as an emulsion for drinking, and the whole is thus utilized within the system. While the contents of a cup of tea or coffee can thus only be regarded as stimulant in its effect, and almost entirely destitute of essential nutritive properties, a cup of prepared cocoa is really a most nourishing article of diet, as, in addition to the value of the theobromine it contains, it introduces into the system no inconsiderable portion of valuable nitrogenous and oleaginous elements."
M. Arthur Mangin, in his valuable work, "Le Cacao et le Chocolat" published in 1862, gives some very good reasons for promoting the use of cocoa. He says: "Cocoa cannot be considered in any respect an article of luxury. It is not a dainty; its hygienic and nutritive properties are unquestionable and unquestioned, and its being endowed with an aroma and flavor which please the sense of smell and the palate is no reason at all for its not being reckoned among articles of food, properly so called. Its cultivation, transport and preparation furnish occupation and support to a multitude of laborers, and its consumption should be respected and encouraged by all wise governments, not only because it is physically beneficial, but, and we do not hesitate to say it, because it is morally salutary.
"Coffee, of which much good can honestly be said, is, however, open to much criticism, as well on account of its physiological effects as its influence on public morals. It can be abused and misused.
Its infusion is an exciting beverage, which does not agree with every one, and which may, when used to excess, cause serious consequences, decidedly affect the health, and even disturb the intellectual faculties. Coffee, moreover, easily becomes a pretext for debauch. It is consumed in the most respectable houses; but also in cafes, liquor saloons and disreputable places, with the accompaniments of alcoholic liquors, tobacco-smoke, coarse words, and unlawful games.
"It is impossible to impute the like effects to chocolate. Its use can never degenerate into abuse, and it can never, like coffee, become a poison, even a slow poison. And then, whatever certain casuists may say, chocolate is decidedly a food, not a beverage. More, it is, above all, the food of sober, orderly, and peaceable folk. It is found only on the family table, at parties of good society, or in public establishments frequented either by well-bred people or hard-working mechanics. We do not play cards or smoke while we drink chocolate, and after it we take no brandy; we drink, perhaps, a glass of cold water, and go peaceably back to our work or to look after our affairs.