I just finished this book called The Chocolate Pirate Plot by JoAnna Carl. I just put it on my list of books read in 2011. Check it out. Not the deepest book I have ever read, trust me, but entertaining none the less. And of course I was drawn in by the chocolate theme. Who wouldn’t be??? I found out it is actually the 10th in the Chocolate series so I may have to go back and find the others. Suffice it to say I was eating it up. Hahahaha! I know. A little sick joke there. The best part of the book for me were all of the random chocolate facts that were interspersed.
1. It appears that Pre-Columbian Native Americans lived a very sophisticated lifestyle. Craig Childs, an author on archaeology and commentator on NPR found potshards in northwestern New Mexico which were tall and slender and not of the usual shape. Similar ones were found at Mayan sites and scientists know that the Maya used them for drinking chocolate during ceremonies. But cacao does not grow in New Mexico. After analyzing residue on the potshards it was discovered that indeed it was theobromine which is found only in chocolate. Somehow international trade reached the American Southwest and they were able to revel in the love of chocolate.
2. This one is for my niece, Carla! If pregnant women eat chocolate they will be happier. A study done at the University of Helsinki followed 300 pregnant women. Conclusions : Babies born to women who ate chocolate laughed and smiled more than those born to women who didn’t eat it. Babies were less feaful also.
3. There are many plants that don’t taste like cocoa but because they are dark, rich brown in color they are referred to as chocolate. These include the Cherokee Chocolate tomato, a cosmos, a sunflower and a viola. Near Langley, Washington is a Chocolate .Flower Farm where the nursery specializes in dark colored flowers, especially the chocolate ones.
4. This one is my favorite–Chocolate may help fight malaria!!! The Gates Foundation gave a $100,000 grant to Steven Maranz, a researcher at Weill Cornell Medical College to investigate interrupting the life cycle of mosquitoes . Instead of killing the mosquitoes that carry the malaria parasite he is trying to figure out how to starve the parasite. The parasite lives on fat. Chocolate bonds with the cholesteroland takes that fat out of ciruculation. Maranz hopes to kill most of the parasites but leave enough that it will give the children a lifetime resistance to malaria. He plans to administer the medicine in the form of a hot chocolate mixture. SWEET!
5. And finally– British scientists are testing a plan to see if waste from chocolate factories scan be used as fuel for a race car! Researchers at the University of Warwick claim their car is the fastest run on biofuels. It runs on a mixture of vegetable oils and chocolate waste. They contend that their project proves that an efficient and speedy car (they hope it can run up to 145 mph) can also be environmentally friendly.
So there you have it–your chocolate facts of the day!! Enjoy!