susan e waplington
A History Of Chocolate, - Poem by susan e waplington
The first known use of Chocolate, as some of you may know,
began in Mexico about 3000 years ago.
The Aztecs and the Maya, from fermented, roasted seeds
of the tropical cacao tree, produced ‘the drink that feeds'.
They named it xocolatl for its ‘bitter water' taste;
a frothy, bitter blend which, beaten, formed a sort of paste.
When mixed with milk and sugar it was found to be quite sweet
and, for its healthful properties, became a favoured treat.
The ground up beans at first were liquefied to make a draught
which, possibly, explains why Mexicans were rather daft
for, after fermentation, it became quite alcoholic.
In ancient ceremonials, consumption was symbolic
The conquering conquistadors first took it back to Spain.
Columbus rediscovered it and brought some back again.
From Spain it spread quite rapidly and some historians think
the Inquisition made it Europe's topmost selling drink.
The Industrial Revolution which brought on the Age of Steam,
gave birth to the invention of hot chocolate topped with cream
from which a host of further new ideas proliferated,
like sprinkling cinnamon on top or nutmeg, finely grated.
The Dutch Van Houten family, by adding alkali,
removed much of the bitter taste and English Joseph Fry
is credited with making the first chocolate to be eaten
which opened up the way for recipes by Mrs. Beaton.
The British brothers Cadbury in 1847
produced their "Dairy Milk" which gave mankind a taste of heaven.
It wasn't long before the erudite and wily Swiss
invented "Nestle's Penny Bar" and built machines for this.
A lot of children's pennies, on the way to Sunday schools,
were spent in Nestle's slot machines though 'twas against the rules.
Thus, Sunday schools financially, found it hard to cope
until the tempting slot machines were outlawed by the Pope.
The 1914-18 War saw Cadburys producing more
than German factories working overtime could make before.
Substantially because of this, deprived of rations from the Swiss,
the Kaiser abdicated and they signed the Armistice.
Then Hitler came upon the scene and, with his Nazi war-machine,
and a lot of ersatz Schokolade made from runner bean,
tried to run Europe on his own but couldn't hack the Russian zone
and was beaten back by Cadburys and US Toblerone.
In their foolishness, the Japanese succeeded even less.
Their behaviour left a flavour which did little to impress
Superior rations on our side eventually turned the tide
and Cadbury's dark ‘Energy' block claims its place with pride.
So what I've tried to give you is a transient history
of chocolate evolution till the current century,
from early liquid forms which our ancestors sipped in bars
to the chocy-covered toffee stuff now marketed by MARS.
Whichever form you most prefer, it doesn't matter much
for, once it hits your taste-buds with it's smooth, addictive touch,
you can't resist its strong appeal and individual taste
and even self-control won't let that last bit go to waste.
Topic(s) of this poem: chocolate, food
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