Ceylon: Carting cacao to Rail to face 99
MAP OF CEYLON 99
" Samoa 100
Samoa, clearing for cacao to face 100
MEXICAN GRINDING-STONE 104
[Illustration—Black & White Plate: Ceylon: A Hill Cacao Estate.]
“The food of the gods.”
I. ITS NATURE.
[Illustration—Drawing: “Make A cup of cocoa in perfection”]
When one thinks of the marvellously nourishing and stimulating virtue of cocoa, and of the exquisite and irresistible dainties prepared from it, one cannot wonder that the great Linnaeus should have named it theo broma, “the food of the gods.” No other natural product, with the exception of milk, can be said to serve equally well as food or drink, or to possess nourishing and stimulating properties in such well-adjusted proportions. Few, however, realize that in its stimulating properties cocoa ranks ahead of coffee, though below tea. As a matter of fact, the active principles of all three are alkaloids, practically identical and equally effective. Each derives its value from its influence on the nervous system, which it stimulates, while checking the waste of tissue, but the cocoa-bean provides in addition solid food to replace wasted tissue. It is, indeed, so closely allied in composition to pure dried milk, that in this respect there is little to choose between an absolutely pure cocoa essence and the natural fluid. It is this which makes it invaluable as an alternative food for invalids or infants.
[Illustration—Black and White Plate: Cacao Trees, Trinidad.]
An early English writer on this valuable product spoke truly when he remarked: “All the American travellers have written such panegyricks, that I should degrade this royal liquor if I should offer any; yet several of these curious travellers and physicians do agree in this, that the cocoa has a wonderful faculty of quenching thirst, allaying hectick heats, of nourishing and fattening the body.”
A modern writer affords the same testimony in a more practical form when he records that: “Cocoa is of domestic drinks the most alimentary; it is without any exception the cheapest food that we can conceive, as it may be literally termed meat and drink, and were our half-starved artisans and over-worked factory children induced to drink it, instead of the in-nutritious beverage called tea, its nutritive qualities would soon develop themselves in their improved looks and more robust condition.”