All's Well That Ends in Chocolate!

By Patricia Eggertsson*



             I have tremendous respect and affection for the cocoa bean. It is a personal friend of mine, maybe even a Guardian Angel at times, since there are days when the only thing standing between me and insanity is a box of Russell Stover’s.

             Chocolate has been called the food of the gods, but it occurs to me that most people do not know the background of this glorious confection. Chocolate has a long and storied history, and this can be verified by my research assistant, Barbara, who has stepped into the kitchen to whip us up a couple of triple mocha milkshakes while we work. Meticulously trained to anticipate my every need, this woman is a researcher’s dream!

              It is a little known fact that the history of chocolate goes back to the very beginning of Creation, in the Garden of Eden (I have excellent sources who wish to remain anonymous on this). It seems the serpent was getting nowhere with Eve having tried to tempt her with peacock feathers, ostrich eggs and bouquets of hibiscus. Eve, being the original Valley Girl, was a tough customer.

             Serpent: Psssst, Evie! Look a what I brawt youse today!

             Eve:        Hello! My name is Eve, as in…Eve!

             Serpent: Yeah, yeah, whatevah youse say. Anyway, I got sometin heah yore gonna love.

             Eve:         What EvERRRR! It better be like, something cool, like makeup or shoes!

             Serpent:  Even bettah! It’s a be-you-ti-ful juicy Red Delicious apple!

             Eve:        As IF! Like I am really going to give up all of Eternity

for, like, a piece of, FRUIT!!

             Serpent: Ok, Evie, did is da last time I’m gonna offah ya a treashuh from my collekshun. Feast yore eyes on this baby!

             Eve:        Hello? Do I look like I was taken out of Adam’s rib like, yesterday? Wait, what’s today?

             Serpent: Evie, Evie! It’s a Hershey’s kiss, da finest chawklet from the deepest ripest cocoa bean in da Gahden (dis gahden, not Madison Square Gahden on account it hasn’t been invented yet).

             Eve: WhatEverrrr! Like, will it make me fat? I hate my hips, like, so bad!

             Serpent: No problem, Evie. Take two, they’ah small, pass ‘em around, give one to the mistah. See, youse gotta slithah!

          It is undeniable that chocolate impacted the history of the world from the get-go, which is Portuguese for “before there was even dirt”. But the development of the modern day world would have been altered even more if Jesus had been born in the Motel VI instead of the manger, which was due in large part to Mary’s craving for a chocolate snack while she and Joseph were traveling.

           Mary:  Joseph, mightn’t we stop at that Stuckey’s for a chocolate covered pecan roll?

          Joseph: Mary, your comfort is my only concern. But we’ve already stopped at the last IV VII/XI’s on our journey.

Of course, Joseph, compassionate husband that he was, gave in to Mary’s prenatal craving and stopped. The manager at the inn wouldn’t hold their reservation because of a convention of travelling Wise Men so they ended up taking shelter in a stable. The rest, dear readers, is history.

         Now, I am going to treat you to a little tidbit that hasn’t been verified yet, but I have it on good authority that Mary rewarded Joseph for his kindness by letting him name the baby Jesus. Which is probably a good thing, since she was kind of leaning toward naming Him Nigel or Miles.  Of course, this means people would be walking around with key chains and necklaces that say, “WWND?” instead of “WWJD?” and bumper stickers all over the world would say, “You’ve Got a Friend in Nigel”.  I cannot overstate that this is a perfect illustration of the tremendous impact of chocolate in the world over the last 2000 years.

        Most people are not aware that chocolate has been the direct cause of many of the world’s most important discoveries and events. For example, few realize that Marie Curie discovered radium quite by accident. She was simply trying to find a way to melt chocolate on the stove without having it stick to the bottom of the pan. Joan of Arc wasn’t really supposed to be burnt at the stake; she simply got in the way when they were making s’mores and somebody thought she was taking cuts. The French hate that, as anyone who has ever been to  Truffles Takeout Night at Chez Porcine’s can testify. It is also a little known fact that the guillotine was invented when M. Guillotine observed his children biting off the heads of their Easter bunnies (le petit porkers!)

       Moving forward to modern times, I think you’ll agree that the effect of chocolate in the field of communications is immeasurable. Take television, for example. I have a most reliable source who informs me that it was the episode of “I Love Lucy” where Lucy and Ethel worked in the chocolate factory that was directly responsible for the fall of the Berlin Wall. Evidently Helmut Kohl, after howling at this particular episode when it was shown on Nick at Nite, stuffed a box of bonbons down Ronald Reagan’s pants and Reagan retaliated by ordering George Bush to throw up in Kohl’s pants. Kohl begged Reagan to choose another form of retaliation, which turned out to be the tearing down of the Berlin Wall. I told you my research assistant was amazing! How does she unearth all this behind the scenes dish?

         Shall we examine the telegraph? This is a no-brainer. After all, everyone knows that the first message tapped out by Samuel Morse was, “What Hath Chocolate Wrought?” Of course the telephone was perfected by chocolate, when Alexander Graham Bell spoke those memorable words, “Watson, I need you! I’ve smeared chocolate on my patent papers!”

          That concludes our history lesson for today. Normally I wouldn’t lecture, but I am completely appalled at the misconceptions that are floating around about this delightful, yet unappreciated wonder. So the next time you are kicking back, with a bowl of m&ms in one hand and a mug of Nestle Quick in the other, take time to reflect on the history that you have at your fingertips. Then close your eyes, and say a silent prayer of thanks to the Creator who made the first cocoa bean plant, and the farmer who had the good sense to cultivate it. Bon Apetit, which, if I am not mistaken, is French for “Get your own!”


This piece was written by Patricia Eggertsson.
Copyright 2000. 


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