Dancing All Night Until the Chocolate Runs Out…and Other Party Favorites
If you are the parent of small children, you will agree that chocolate increases energy. Just slip a kindergartener a chocolate bar an hour before bedtime and let the good times roll!
By one historical account, cacao was the only nourishment taken to keep the people of Mexico dancing all day and half the night during festivities.
It seems that while we have been taught to count calories for healthy weight maintenance, our ancestors gladly consumed chocolate calories to maintain a high amount of energy for joyful celebration.
What a wonderful way to enjoy life!
Whether or not cocoa helps maintain good health or is simply the “most pleasing confection to the palate’, the growth of the cacao industry over several centuries, and several countries, is little short of remarkable.
First as a beverage, then as a “sweetmeat” (which is what some people used to call it), chocolate has steadily worked its way into public favor. It’s safe to say the entire civilized world knows and loves the value of chocolate.
The popularity of chocolate as a source of nutrition has evolved. Its caloric value was once compared to meat, milk and bread for building body and bones.
Professor Forster, an intellect from the past, compared the heat-giving power of cacao and cocoa preparations with some of our most valuable foods. In those days, “calories in-calories out” was an important measure of health and fitness.
- 1 kilo lean beef gives 1214 calories
- 1 kilo fat beef gives 3057 calories
- 1 litre of cow’s milk gives 672 calories
- 1 kilo hens’ eggs (avg. 18) gives 1678 calories
- 1 kilo husked earth-nuts gives 5184 calories
- 1 kilo peas gives 2710 calories
- 1 kilo white bread gives 2528 calories
- 1 kilo cacao beans gives 5110 calories
- 1 kilo cacao mass gives 5967 calories
- 1 kilo cocoa powder gives 4167 calories
- 1 kilo chocolate gives 4763 calories
These historic figures show the caloric-value of various foods. A kilo of cacao beans provides more than four times the energy of a kilo of beef!
Chocolate burgers anyone…..??
History of chocolate as a healthy food…
Energy (aka calories) was recognized in early centuries as the key for endurance in by explorers, athletes, soldiers, sailors and others engaged in work or pastimes which required physical endurance.
But interest about the nutritional value of chocolate wasn’t exclusive to weight watchers and athletes.
Before the turn of the century, Herbalists and Physicians were talking about chocolate for various constitutions:
“In cold constitutions, Jamaica Pepper, cinnamon, nutmegs, cloves, etc., may be mixed with the cacao nut…in hot Consumptive tempers you may mix almonds pistachios, etc….and sometimes steel and rhubarb may be added for young green ladies.”
Today, we understand more about calories and units of energy. We break down the value of food, and chocolate in particular, into what kind of calories: Carbs, Protein and Fat. And that “fat” part is really what can show up and spoil the party!
But the nutritional value of chocolate doesn’t stop with calories.
We now understand micro-nutrients and chemical compounds. Once again, science, and particularly in this case the Netherlands Journal of Medicine, has declared chocolate, especially dark chocolate, as a “complete food” with important fats (cocoa butter), antioxidants (flavonoids, epicatechin, catechin, and procyanidins), nitrogenous compounds (proteins, methylxantines theobromine and caffeine), and minerals and other properties (potassium, phosphorus, copper, iron, zinc, valeric acid, and magnesium).
See…Chocolate is Good! After all, if science says it’s good for you, then there’s no harm in indulging your chocolate addiction, right!?
Smith Chocolate Fudge Recipe
From Great Grandma’s Cupboard
- ¼ cup Butter
- 1 cup Sugar
- 1 cup Brown Sugar
- ½ cup Molasses
- ½ cup Cream
- 2 ounces Unsweetened Chocolate Squares, chopped
- 1 ½ Teaspoon Vanilla
- Melt butter in a saucepan. In a separate dish, mix sugar, brown sugar, molasses, and cream.
- Add this to the butter and bring to a boil. Continue to boil for 2 ½ minutes, stirring rapidly.
- Add chocolate. Boil 4 minutes, stirring it first rapidly, then more slowly towards the end.
- Remove from heat and add vanilla.
- Stir constantly until the fudge thickens.
- Pour into buttered pan and set in a cool place.