Ah, chocolate. What can we say about you, most delicious of treats? The Mayans probably summed it up best when they decided to name your key ingredient, cacao, after the Mayan word for “god food.” We, Americans, have an especially intense love affair with chocolate, even laying claim to the world largest chocolate bar. If you heart chocolate (and we’re pretty sure you do), check out these interesting facts about your favorite dessert.
Mo Chocolate Mo Problems
You’ve probably heard chocolate described as having a rich taste before, but I bet you didn’t realize that, once upon a time, chocolate could actually make a person rich. It’s true, in ancient Mexico, chocolate nuts a.k.a. cacao beans were used as a form of currency. Even Cortes used the cacao beans to do all his shopping at Conquistadors r’ Us, when he arrived in Tenochtitlan. Sure, there was plenty of gold and silver lying around, but these guys knew what was really valuable. Unfortunately, this ridiculously awesome tradition is no longer around, which means that if you try to pay your cab fare with a bunch of Tootsie Rolls today, you’ll probably just be met with a very confused taxi driver.
What do you think of when you see a monkey: bananas? men with yellow hats? One thing you probably don’t associate with these furry little guys is-you guessed it-chocolate. In fact, we owe a big thanks to our primate friends, who were, in fact, the original founders of nature’s confections. You see, cacao pods, a well-known monkey snack, contains the cocoa beans from which chocolate is made. Monkeys like to split the pods open, eat the the juicy pulp inside, then throw away the most important part-the beans. It was because of the monkeys that the beans spread around the world, leading to the growth of cacao trees in South and Central America. When you think about how many cacao trees they must have had growing there, planet of the apes suddenly doesn’t sound so bad, does it?
You know that amazing feeling you get when you kiss the love of your life? Yeah, it turns out that the buzz you get from chocolate is even better-namely more intense and longer-lasting. When you think about it, it’s actually kind of weird that guys bring their dates boxes of chocolate. It’s sort of like bringing your competition with you. When you take into consideration the fact that women eat twice the amount of chocolate as men, I think it’s pretty clear who’s going to come out on top here. Sorry guys, looks like you’re gonna have to find a different way to impress your gal pals.
Chocolate, the Inventor
Trivia time! What household appliance, that you use on a daily basis, owes its existence to chocolate? If you guessed the microwave, you are correct. Congratulations! And now for your prize: a really cool history lesson. During World War II, a scientist named Percy Spencer was working on a radar and weapons project. It should be noted that our scientist was also something of a chocoholic. One day, he was in the lab working near a device called a magnetron, when he noticed that the chocolate bar in his pocket (yes, like any good choco-addict he always kept a bar of chocolate handy on his person…probably) had melted. It was then he concluded that magnetrons could heat foods quickly, and so, the microwave oven came to be. Yes, that’s right, if it weren’t for chocolate, we’d have to resort to cooking all our food like cavemen…on a stove.
Goodbye Clearasil, Hello Cadbury
Remember when you (unsuccessfully) swore off chocolate in high school because you found out that it was making you break out? Teenagers of the world can now rejoice, because it turns out that there’s actually no link between chocolate and acne. In fact, German researchers have conducted research that suggests that the flavonoids in chocolate absorb UV light. Fascinating stuff, right? Oh, did I not mention that this increases blood flow to the skin, and actually makes it look better? Kind of gives a whole new meaning to hot chocolate…
So, there you have it-some cool trivia that’s probably changed the way you look at chocolate. I’m sure by now you’re craving the stuff, so I’ll just leave this here. Go ahead, indulge; just be careful not to go too overboard. I’m looking at you. Montezuma.