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.
Of Chocolate Exhibits There is No End: Part 2
Just as the Detroit Institute of Arts closes its wonderful Bitter|Sweet display of chocolate, coffee and tea, no need to despair. New York offers three additional exhibits. Setting aside the wondrous and elegant chocolate shops, at least three local museums currently exhibit artifacts related to the history and consumption of chocolate. For now, the newRead more ›
Chocolate, Coffee, Tea and Me
Thank you to the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit for the invitation to speak at their event Chocolate, Coffee, and Judaism created in conjunction with the Detroit Institute of Arts exhibit “Bitter|Sweet: Coffee, Tea & Chocolate.” Not only did I have the opportunity to meet a curious audience, I also presented with Professor Howard LupovitchRead more ›
Super Food Chocolate for Super Bowl Sunday: Three Recipes
Try these super-easy-to-make chocolate treats for Super Bowl Sunday. They are especially appropriate since they include the super food, cocoa nibs. Your guests and family will happily dip into these savory and sweet temptations. The recipes are easily adaptable for small gatherings or large parties and will appeal to all ages. Prepped days ahead, theseRead more ›
Election 2016: Winning Fudge Brigadeiros
The candidate’s wife and women supporters made these Brazilian chocolate fudge truffles to win him the campaign. He loved them. She made them. Post World War II food shortages in Brazil meant a lack of sweets. Fortunately, cocoa powder and condensed milk were available and combined to create the nationally beloved bonbons named brigadeiros (Portuguese).Read more ›
Some Previous Posts
(in alphabetical order)
- Adventures On the Chocolate Trail: Atlanta, Portland, Seattle
- Anschluss Launches Bartons Passover Favorites 77 Years Ago
- Bat Mitzvah Wants Fair Trade Israeli Chocolate
- Bringing Buckeye Candy to Experts
- Can’t Live Without Chocolate?
- Chocolate Expo
- Chocolate Made My Lunch: Nashville
- Chocolate Signals
- Fathering Chocolate
- Hunting for Chocolate: Fancy Food Show, NYC, 2016
- It's Chocolate Season
- Labor Day in our Chocolate
- Local Chocolate in the South
- Minding Our Chocolate
- On the Chocolate Trail in Brooklyn
- Saluting Military Chocolate
- Seriously Tasting Chocolate
- Smiley Chocolate
- Ten Teaspoons of Sugar in My Chocolate?
- That Time Jews Smuggled Chocolate to France — and a Recipe for Basque Chocolate Cake