"The well-known proverb, 'People are known by the company they keep,' would lose none of its force if altered to read: 'Tell me what you eat and drink, and I will tell you who you are.' Breakfast, especially, is the characteristic repast, which gives the surest indications as to the morality of civilized men. The man who eats a substantial meat breakfast, and follows it up with coffee and liquors, may certainly be a very honest man, but he is not a temperate man, and one might wager that after such a repast he will do very little. Be assured, on the contrary, that he who breakfasts on milk, coffee, or chocolate has few physical wants; that his sensuality, if he be sensual, is mild and moderate, and that the man in him has the mastery over he animal. Let governments load with high duties all spirituous liquors, - luxurious beverages for the rich, but utter poison for the people, - agents of depravity, demoralization, and degeneration, equally fatal to public morals and public health; let them impose an arbitrary tax on tobacco, and even monopolize the sale at fictitious prices; let them do likewise with playing-cards and other articles which supply merely imaginary wants, - these are measures whose political legitimacy or economic utility may be attacked, but which cannot be contested as contrary to the popular interest, or to the increase of its comfort or its moral improvement.
"Cocoa is, on the contrary, among the few articles - it is perhaps the only one - whose sale should be not only released from all constraint, but encouraged and extended, because it is the only article of food to which may be applied the apparently strange and paradoxical qualification morally improving food. We have just shown that this qualification suits it in all respects. It is proved, beside, that cocoa enters too largely into popular consumption, that it forms too great an addition to the sum of the food substances already existing, for it to be reckoned henceforth among luxuries subject to sumptuary laws."
Dr. Edmund A. Parkes, F.R.S., in his "Manual of Practical Hygiene, prepared especially for use in the Medical Service of the Army" (London, 1864), says: "Although the theobromine of cocoa is now known to be identical with theine and caffeine, the composition of cocoa removes it widely from tea and coffee. The quantity of fat varies even in the same sort of cocoa. The ash contains a large quantity of phosphate of potash. The larger quantity of fat makes it a very nourishing article of diet, and it is therefore useful in weak states of the system, and for healthy men under circumstances of great exertion. It has even been compared to milk. In South America cocoa and maize cakes are used by travellers, and the large amount of agreeable nourishment in small bulk enables several days' supplies to be easily carried. By roasting, the starch is changed into dextrin, the amount of margaric acid increases, and an empyrematic aromatic substance is formed."
Baron von Liebig, the famous chemist, says: "It is a perfect food, as wholesome as delicious, a beneficent restorer of exhausted power; but its quality must be good, and it must be carefully prepared. It is highly nourishing and easily digested, and is fitted to repair wasted strength, preserve health, and prolong life. It agrees with dry ternperaments and convalescents; with mothers who nurse their children; with those whose occupations oblige them to undergo severe mental strains; with public speakers, and with all those who give to work a portion of the time needed for sleep. It soothes both stomach and brain, and for this reason, as well as for others, it is the best friend of those engaged in literary pursuits."
Francois Joseph Victor Broussais, a celebrated physician and member of the French Institute, says : "Chocolate of good quality, well made, properly cooked, is one of the best aliments that I have yet found for my patients and for myself. This delicious food calms the fever, nourishes adequately the patient, and tends to restore him to health. I would even add that I attribute many cures of chronic dyspepsia to the regular use of chocolate."
Christoph Wilhelm Hufeland, the distinguished German physician, says: "I recommend good chocolate to nervous, excitable persons; also to the weak, debilitated, and infirm; to children and women. I have obtained excellent results from it in many cases of chronic diseases of the digestive organs."
Dr. Karl Ernest Bock, of Leipsic, author of a "Traite de Pathologie et de Diagnostic" says: "The nervousness and peevishness of our times are chiefly attributable to tea and coffee; the digestive organs of confirmed coffee-drinkers are in a state of chronic derangement, which reacts upon the brain, producing fretful and lachrymose moods. Cocoa and chocolate are neutral in their physical effects, and are really the most harmless of our fashionable drinks."
Jean Baptiste Alphonse Chevalier, in his treatise on chocolate, says: "Cocoa and chocolate are a complete food ; coffee and tea are not food. Cocoa gives one-third its weight in starch and one-half in cocoa-butter; and, converted into chocolate by the addition of sugar, it realizes the idea of a complete aliment, wholesome and eminently hygienic. The shells of the bean contain the same principles as the kernels, and the extract, obtained by an infusion of the shells in sweetened milk, forms a mixture at once agreeable to the taste, and an advantageous substitute for tea and coffee."
Mme. de Sevigne, in one of her letters to her daughter, says: "I took chocolate night before last to digest my dinner, in order to have a good supper. I took some yesterday for nourishment, so as to be able to fast until night. What I consider amusing about chocolate is that it acts according to the wishes of the one who takes it."
It will be observed that Brillat-Savarin corroborates this statement as to the value of chocolate as an aid to digestion.