Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Food of the Gods

In which both our Heroine and Montezuma enjoy the Fruits of the Earth. 

Cod liver oil isn’t the only thing I brought home from the health food store.  I also decided to check out the very dark chocolate section.  At nearly 4 dollars a (large) bar, you can imagine my husband’s reaction (especially after the $53 cod liver incident).  I have picked out a whole bunch of different brands and kinds.  When I taste them all, I’ll let you know my favorite.  Until then,
I give you facts about chocolate:
1.       WEALTH: Aztecs, Mayans, and Toltecs used the beans as money.
2.       DEITY AND SCIENCE: Linnaeus called it theobroma cacao, literally “the food of the gods.”
3.       CONQUEST: After landing, Cortez drank chocolate from a goblet of encrusted gold.  The question for me is which was worth more in the end, the cacao trade or the gold?
4.       LOVE: Chocolate has never been proven, but is nevertheless rumored, to have aphrodisiac properties.  The root of the story is this: Emperor Montezuma drank enormous amounts of xocoatl per day, which we all know equals a tremendous quantity of caffeine.  He had a harem of 600 concubines.  Enough said.
5.       HEALTH: Good quality, dark chocolate in moderate quantities is actually good for you as it has high polyphenol and anti-oxidant content: 3 times greater than a cup of green tea, etc…  It is known to be good for circulatory problems, although the benefits disappear when milk is added.  Has great anti-cancer possibilities—especially for lung cancer, but I remain positive about its effect on brain cancer.  1.5 ounces of 70% dark chocolate per day is good—especially if it replaces other not-so-healthy treats. 
6.       INDUSTRIALIZATION: In which the otherwise healthy cacao butter is replaced by unhealthy fillers made up primarily of processed fats and sugars.  Flavor retention, but not healthy.
Pile o’ chocolate.  Mmmmm.
Word of advice for the unwitting: Don’t eat the kind with cacao nibs right before bed—there’s some serious caffeine in there.

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