Both these articles are made from the kernels of a tropical fruit, about the size of a cucumber, the fleshy part of which is sometimes used to produce a vinous liquor; they are produced[Pg 22] from the seeds of the cocoa palm, and from a kind of ground nut. These kernels consist of gum, starch, and vegetable oil; and are marketed as cocoa shells, which are the husks of the kernel; cocoa nibs, which consist of the crushed nuts; and ground cocoa, which is the kernels ground fine.
Chocolate is the finely ground powder from the kernels, mixed to a stiff paste with sugar, and, sometimes, a little starch. It is very nutritious; when it is difficult to digest remove from its solution the oily cake which will collect upon the surface as it cools. It is so nutritious that a small cake of it, weighing about two ounces, will satisfy hunger; for that reason it is a good lunch for travellers.
Both cocoa and chocolate are very nutritious, and are free from the reactionary influences of tea and coffee. Let us count the cost of these beverages, and see which is the best for us.
One quart of weak tea can be made from three teaspoonfuls, or half an ounce, of tea, (which cost at least one cent;) we must have for general use a gill of milk, (at one cent,) and four teaspoonfuls or one ounce of sugar, (at one cent); thus if we use only the above quantities of milk and sugar, one quart of tea costs three cents; if we increase them it will cost more.
One quart of weak coffee can be made from one ounce, or two tablespoonfuls of coffee, (at a cost of two cents;) two tablespoonfuls or ounces of sugar, (two cents,) and a half a pint of milk, (two cents;) the total cost six cents.
One quart of cocoa can be made from two ounces, or eight tablespoonfuls of cocoa shells, (which cost two cents,) with half a pint of milk, and an ounce of sugar, (at four cents more;) we have a quart of good, nutritious drink at six cents. It is all the better if the shells are boiled gently two or three hours. Of course the nibs, or crushed cocoa, and chocolate, will both produce a correspondingly nutritious beverage.
Twenty-Five Cent Dinners for Families of Six, by Juliet Corson (Page 1879)