A Cup of Hot Chocolate, S’Good for What Ails Ya

An article by Mary Miley Theobald at history.orgA Cup of Hot Chocolate, S’Good for What Ails Ya

Some historians think that chocolate drinking spread from England to its North American colonies, but it seems more likely that it came directly in ships that plied the trade routes from the West Indies to the major colonial ports of Boston, Philadelphia, New York, and Newport, Rhode Island. Whatever the route, chocolate arrived in English North America at about the same time it arrived in England. It was available as chocolate nuts, as shells, and in processed “chocolate cakes,” lumps of grated powder and sugar ready to be stirred into boiling water, mixed with whatever ingredients one preferred, and frothed with the little hand mill.

A Cup of Hot Chocolate, S’Good for What Ails Ya

Those who bought the cacao seed had to roast and grind the chocolate themselves or, more likely, have their servants or slaves do the tedious job. Those who, like Martha Washington, purchased the cacao shells, steeped them in hot water to make a thin chocolaty drink that was easier on the stomach than oily chocolate.

According to Jim Gay, most chocolate was processed in the northern colonies, in New England, Philadelphia, and New York. It was sold in its various forms in general stores and grocers’ shops. In pre-Revolutionary Williamsburg, unsweetened chocolate went for about two shillings sixpence per pound, slightly more than a free unskilled laborer or sailor earned in a day. Obviously, few of those men drank chocolate. Prices fell, however, and by the nineteenth century, it had become cheap enough to be given to slaves.

A Cup of Hot Chocolate, S’Good for What Ails Ya
Nobilities drinking chocolate in Mrs White’s Chocolate House in London.

Its perceived medicinal value made chocolate a natural product for apothecary shops. It was considered nourishing for the sick as well as an aid to digestion and was believed to promote longevity, help lung ailments, energize the body, cure hangovers, suppress coughs, and, as mentioned, stimulate the libido. For that reason, the Virginia A Cup of Hot Chocolate, S’Good for What Ails YaAlmanac of 1770 cautioned women against it, warning “the fair sex to be in a particular manner careful how they meddle with romances, chocolate, novels, and the like,” especially in the spring, as those were all “inflamers” and “very dangerous.”

“This was very much ignored,” Jim Gay says. “Women were the main consumers of chocolate. Children were denied chocolate because it was a stimulant.” But it was this sexy reputation that caused chocolate to become associated with love, Valentine’s Day, sinful pleasures, and decadence.

Ben Franklin recommended chocolate as a cure for smallpox in Poor Richard’s Almanac of 1761; Doctor Benjamin Rush did the same in his A Cup of Hot Chocolate, S’Good for What Ails Yamedical texts. Thomas Jefferson thought chocolate would overtake tea and coffee as the American beverage of choice. In a letter of November 27, 1785, to John Adams he wrote, “The superiority of chocolate, both for health and nourishment, will soon give it the preference over tea and coffee in America which it has in Spain.” In this he was mistaken. Chocolate drinking would soon decline in favor of chocolate eating.

By the late eighteenth century, a very few, very wealthy Americans were eating chocolate as food. Not the creamy sort of milk chocolate candy bars we know today—those would not exist until the nineteenth century—this rather gritty chocolate was shaved and cooked into puddings, pies, and tarts and served as a side dish at dinner. It was also mixed into creams and ice creams and almond-shaped candies and served at the finest tables as part of the dessert course.

A Cup of Hot Chocolate, S’Good for What Ails Ya

North America’s first cookbook, printed in 1742 in Williamsburg by William Parks, publisher of the Virginia Gazette, contained but one chocolate recipe: “chocolate almonds.” The list of ingredients included A Cup of Hot Chocolate, S’Good for What Ails Yano almonds; the word merely reflected the shape of the chocolate, which was mixed with sugar, orange flower water, and a binder. Today we might call it a chocolate drop.

Gay’s research turned up other Virginia chocolate recipes in manuscript form, sometimes written by an unknown housewife. One of these mixes sugar, chocolate, and almonds, then directs the cook to use cochineal to color them red, saffron for yellow, “Stone blew” for blue, and “the Juice of Spinage” for green. Gay calls this “the eighteenth-century ancestor of M&Ms.”

A Cup of Hot Chocolate, S’Good for What Ails YaChocolate did not really become a food until the middle of the nineteenth century. The pivotal date was 1828, when a Dutchman, Casparus Van Houten, invented a machine for manufacturing powdered low-fat cocoa. Chocolate beverages became easier and cheaper to make, leading to what some have called the democratization of chocolate.

A Cup of Hot Chocolate, S’Good for What Ails Ya

In 1847, an English chocolate maker that had been in business almost a hundred years, J. S. Fry and Sons, developed the first molded chocolate bar. A Swiss, Henri Nestlé, figured out in 1867 how to make powdered milk by evaporation, and another Swiss, Daniel Peter, came up with the idea of blending Nestlé’s powdered milk with chocolate in 1879. The milk chocolate candy bar was on its way.

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Madeline’s Lemon Butter Sauce / Madelines Sitronsmørsaus

A vegetable sauce recipe from a slightly cheesy ad for
Sunkist Lemons  published in 1972
Madeline’s Lemon Butter Sauce / Madelines Sitronsmørsaus
Was it the candle lights, the soft music, or the little lemon trick on the vegetables that got to Arnold the night he proposed? Madeline  Nagel doesn’t care. It worked.

In 1972 Sunkist Lemons ran a whole series of ads build over the same slightly cheesy mould like this one. all based on women succeeding at cooking with lemon zest and lemon juice or both impressing boyfriends, in-laws or husband’s bosses. Al with a same rather mortifyingly bad text. The recipes that followed weren’t all that shabby though.

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Loudoun’s Apple Pudding / Loudouns Eplepudding

An 18th centure dessert recipe found on evolutionarypie.com
Loudoun’s Apple Pudding / Loudouns Eplepudding

Karen Hammonds who runs https://revolutionarypie.com writes: John Campbell Loudoun’s apple pudding recipe first caught my eye because it was written in verse. A rarity today, rhyming recipes were common in the 19th and early 20th centuries, when they were supposedly used by housewives to help them remember recipes. Loudoun’s poem, attributed to him by Kristie Lynn and Robert Pelton, authors of The Early American Cookbook, is much older, dating back to the 18th century.

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Medieval Monday – Perre

A Medieval sidedish resipe found on
One Year and Thousand Eggs
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Take green peas, and boil them in a pot; And when they are broken, draw the broth a good quantity through a strainer into a pot, And sit it on the fire; and take onions and parsley, and hew them small together, And cast them thereto; And take powder of Cinnamon and pepper and cast thereto, and let boil; And take vinegar and powder of ginger, and cast thereto; And then take Saffron and salt, a little quantity, and cast thereto; And take fair pieces of pandemaine, or else of such tender bread, and cut it in fair morsels, and cast thereto; And serve it so forth.

From Harleian MS. 4016, Volume II

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Citrus Flavor Creme Catalane / Creme Catalane med Smak av Sitrus

A contemporary take on a traditional Spanish
dessert recipe found on meny.no

Citrus Flavor Creme Catalane / Creme Catalane med Smak av Sitrus

Crema catalana is a traditional Spanish dessert made from milk, egg yolks and sugar. It is considered by some to be the forerunner of crème brûlée. The crema catalana on the pictures is sevred with a citrus salad.

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Fermented Raspberry Soda / Musserende Bringebærbrus

A homemade tart soda recipe found on saveur.com
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Cookbook author Amy Thielen likes to add a splash of this tart, naturally fizzy juice to grown-up, not-too-sweet ice cream floats for a bright swath of flavor. You may also like mixing it into cocktails and even vinaigrettes. You can start with any fruit, but the smaller and juicier the better.

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DIY Sunday – Chairside Magazine Rack

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DIY Sunday - Chairside Magazine Rack

A flashback from before television ruled our evenings and magazines were our source entertainment in the after dinner easy chair. This plan was published in the 1940 March issue of Popular Mechanics and you can download it by clicking the icon below.

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Granola Pancakes with Bacon / Müslipannekaker med Bacon

A delicious breakfast recipe found on gilde.no
Granola Pancakes with Bacon / Müslipannekaker med Bacon

Pancakes for breakfast gets even better with bacon. The combination of sweet and salty is unbeatable.

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English Porridge / Engelsk Havregrøt

A classic breakfast porridge recipe found on food52.com
English Porridge / Engelsk Havregrøt

This porridge is just right. It calls for equal parts of two styles of oats, which means the steel-cut bits keep their pop, while the rolled oats melt around them — and getting them to the perfect texture only takes 20 minutes. Cooking with half milk, half water is enough to make it feel rich and loving, without slogging you down first thing in the morning. This will seem like a lot of salt. But it won’t be too much, because at the end you’ll add something sweet and something milky and it will all live in harmony.

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Soda & Softdrink Saturday – Patio Diet Cola

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Patio Diet Cola was a brand of diet soda introduced by Pepsi in 1963. It was created in response to Diet Rite Cola. Fitness promoter Debbie Drake was Patio Diet Cola’s spokesperson; the drink was also marketed as a soda alternative for diabetics.

patio diet cola_02In 1964, Patio released orange, grape, and root beer flavors. This flavor line was not meant to compete with brands like Orange Crush, but rather fill out the line. Patio sodas were available in the cold-bottle market: grocery and mom-and-pop stores. Advertising for Patio was comparatively scarce; at the time, bottlers were regionally franchised, and related advertising was necessarily local.

In 1964, Patio diet cola became Diet Pepsi. The newly branded diet soda was advertised alongside Pepsi, with the tagline “Pepsi either way”, which replaced the slogan “Dances with flavor”. Most of the remaining Patio line of flavors were phased out by the early 1970s, while a few survived until the mid 1970s.

In popular culture

The creation of an advertising campaign for Patio was a featured plot of the third season of the AMC television series Mad Men. In “My Old Kentucky Home”, the advertising agency hired an Ann-Margret look-alike. In “The Arrangements”, they notably used a take-off of Ann-Margret’s opening number from the film Bye Bye Birdie for their television commercial.

How Patio cola changed the world of fizzy drinks

patio diet cola_04Fifty years ago Diet Pepsi was first marketed, trying to fix a link in consumers’ minds between sugar-free fizzy drinks and weight loss. But today, the very term “diet” on food and drink almost seems a little retro.

The product featured in the first few episodes of series three of the advertising agency drama, and is a point of dispute between Sterling Cooper staff members when PepsiCo reject a television commercial based on the film Bye Bye Birdie.

Patio was a real product and the year after its introduction in 1963 it was rebranded as Diet Pepsi. But Pepsi’s move into diet drinks was inspired by an unusual source.

A soft drink produced for diabetic patients at New York’s Jewish Sanitarium for Chronic Disease in the early 1950s called No-Cal ballooned in popularity, far beyond the customer base its maker expected. It turned out more than half the people buying No-Cal weren’t diabetic – they were just watching their weight.

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This caught the attention of Royal Crown, a cola maker, which introduced Diet Rite Cola in 1962. Their product was marketed towards the calorie-conscious as a dietetic product. The strategy worked – in three years, sales of diet drinks increased fivefold. Pepsi was forced to act.

patio diet cola_05But PepsiCo was not sure there was a big enough market for their diet drink, or that it would be successful. So they hedged their bets. They released the drink, but avoided connecting it to their main Pepsi brand, worried a potential failure could tarnish the brand they had spent years building. When they recognised the fad for diet food and drink wasn’t disappearing, they renamed Patio.

Baronet’s Curry / Baronettens Karri

A spicy curry dish recipe from the Victorian era
found at cookit.e2bn.org
Baronet’s Curry / Baronettens Karri

The first English curry house opened in London as early as in 1811 and towards the beginning of the Victorian era (she was born in 1819) exotic spices were getting more and more available. Cook books which were published by the mid 1800s featured many types of curry recipes, and towards the end of 1870 dry spices become so cheap that even farmers with a limited income could indulge in a curry dish from time to time.

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Frankfurters in Lager / Pølser i Pils

An exciting  frankfurter recipe found on gilde.noFrankfurters in Lager / Pølser i Pils

Frankfurters are very popular in Norway, both among children and grownups, but they are not often served as fancy as in this recipe. It will take a little time, but it will be worth it, believe me – Ted

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Rough Salmon Burgers / Grove Lakseburgere

A great campfire salmon recipe found at godfisk.no
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If you are out on a fishing trip, you can of course make these burgers from self caught trout, char or other fish. what ever you choose they will taste great.

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Danish Egg And Bacon Cake / Dansk Egg- og Baconpanne

A breakfast recipe from “The Love Of Cooking” (Kjærligheten Til Matlaging) published published by Ebury Press in 1972
Danish Egg And Bacon Cake / Dansk Egg- og Baconpanne

The Danes take breakfast seriously (as they do all other meals) so a dry slice of bread with a quickly added spread will hardly do after the morning shower in that neck of the woods. This delicious skillet dish should prove my point – Ted

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Wholemeal Crescents with Cheese and Ham / Grove Horn med Ost og Skinke

A popular Scandinavian yeast bakery recipe found on joker.no
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Crescents like these, fine or wholemeal, filled or not are very popular in Scandinavia and can be bought at most bakers and large grocers. More often than not you can buy them spread with cheese or cheese and ham at most cafés here too.

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