Chocolate Made My Lunch: Nashville
In Nashville I managed time between my five lectures on the chocolate trail scholar-in-residence to pay homage to Nashville’s homegrown confection, the Goo Goo Cluster. Developed over 100 years ago, the Goo Goo tempted sugar lovers with its innovative combination of ingredients: caramel, marshmallow nougat, fresh roasted peanuts and real milk chocolate. Located near Nashville’s honkey tonk center, the store boasts Goo Goo collectibles and a kitchen that churns out newer varieties of the Cluster. These now mix in dark chocolate, pecans and peanut butter. According to the company history, until the 1912 invention of the Goo Goo, there were no manufactured combination candies. Surprisingly, in the 20’s and 30’s, the Goo Goo Cluster was marketed as “A Nourishing Lunch for a Nickel.”
Goo Goo was not the only company to make a claim for the nutritional benefits of chocolate and candy.* When Milton Hershey released his first milk chocolate bar in 1900, the label touted it as “a nutritious confection.” By 1903 Hershey contended that his bars were “More sustaining than meat.” Tootsie Rolls were sold in a pocket sized tube marked Lunch. The Knickerbocker Chocolate Company of New York sought to outdo competitors with its nickel Sportsman’s Chocolate Bracer. Its advertisement read: “Consumers eat it for a food as well as for a confection for it really has more food value than any solid chocolate [bar] for sale today.”
Professor John C. Olsen of the Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City gave a scientific boost to the idea that “Candy is a nourishing and sustaining food” in 1910. He argued that chocolate “contain[s] all the four chief food elements, fats, carbohydrates, proteins and mineral salts and have a higher calorific value than fish, meats, vegetables and fruits.” Further, “Any vigorous adult could make a good breakfast on these chocolate creams and peanuts. … A person living on candy could feed himself on 50 cents a day easily.” He noted that the equivalent caloric amount of eggs cost $1.84 a day. Not only was candy cheap, it was nutritious.
I sure would like to believe that part about nutrition the next time I reach for a Goo Goo Cluster.
*Thank you to Candy: A Century of Panic and Pleasure by Samira Kawash for some of this information.
Launching The Chocolate Babka Project
Admittedly, by heritage I am more a German kugelhopf than an Eastern European babka. I remember eating homemade kugelhopf and bundt cake at family celebrations in Los Angeles. When I mentioned babka to my German speaking father, he looked puzzled and asked, “What’s a babka?” Babka, much less chocolate babka, was just not in our pastryRead more ›
On the Chocolate Trail in Belize’s Jungle
Mark and I happily signed on for three distinct rainforest chocolate experiences within a 15 mile radius of our home base, the romantic Cotton Tree eco-lodge which is nestled among Mayan villages near the Caribbean in the Toledo District of Belize. Not only did Belize envelop us in an exotic rainforest experience, our tourism contributedRead more ›
Is that coffee or chocolate?
Having just eaten my daily portion of chocolate covered coffee beans, I am primed to consider the questions I hear about coffee when I teach on the chocolate trail. How do the two foods really differ, other than taste? I think back to when the layout for On the Chocolate Trail was being designed andRead more ›
A Chocolate Cake for October’s Tricks: Devil’s Food
Heading into October and its culmination in Halloween, I find myself hankering for Devil’s Food Cake, despite its initially derogatory name. Supposedly in 1690 Pilgrims traveled to Plymouth Rock via Amsterdam. They stayed in a house near the city’s biggest chocolate houses and called that chocolate “the Devil’s food.” Later, a chocolate cake, perhaps simplyRead more ›
Some Previous Posts
(in alphabetical order)
- A Chocolate Cake for October's Tricks: Devil's Food
- Announcing Second Edition: On the Chocolate Trail
- Book Optioned: Museum Exhibit
- Celebrating Ice Cream Month with Chocolate
- Choco-Travel Tips
- Chocolate Exhibit Hits the New York Times
- Chocolate Trail Broadens: "Semi[te] Sweet: On Jews and Chocolate" Travels
- Chocolate, Coffee, Tea and Me
- How About Some Mindful Chocolate Tasting?
- Jews on the Chocolate Trail
- Lunch & Learn: Central Synagogue
- Lunch and Learn: Tasting the Best Chocolate
- Mothers and Survival by Chocolate
- No End to Chocolate Exhibits Part III: Visits #3, 4 & 5
- Of Chocolate Exhibits There is No End: Part 2
- Super Food Chocolate for Super Bowl Sunday: Three Recipes
- Talking Chocolate in February
- Warm Up: 3 Historical Drinking Chocolate Recipes