Lector compulsivo es aquél que disfruta pasar horas en las librerías antiguas. Es aquél que lee lo que le caiga en las manos; el que siente que pecó si tuviera que tirar un libro destruído; aquél que los enmienda; el que los huele y evita la lectura en la computadora; el que tiene libros en el baño, bajo la cama, en la mesita de luz, la cocina, en cajas, en roperos, a tal punto que tiene que decidir entre donar libros, vender los muebles o echar a la familia....
NATIVE AMERICAN INDIANS ROASTING AND GRINDING THE BEANS, AND MIXING THE CHOCOLATE IN A JUG WITH A WHISK. (From Ogilvy's America, 1671)
¨When Columbus discovered the New World he brought back with him to Europe many new and curious things, one of which was cacao. Some years later, in 1519, the Spanish conquistador, Cortes, landed in Mexico, marched into the interior and discovered to his surprise, not the huts of savages, but a beautiful city, with palaces and museums. This city was the capital of the Aztecs, a remarkable people, notable alike for their ancient civilisation and their wealth. Their national drink was chocolate, and Montezuma, their Emperor, who lived in a state of luxurious magnificence, "took no other beverage than the chocolatl, a potation of chocolate, flavoured with vanilla and other spices, and so prepared as to be reduced to a froth of the consistency of honey, which gradually dissolved in the mouth and was taken cold. This beverage if so it could be called, was served in golden goblets, with spoons of the same metal or tortoise-shell finely wrought. The Emperor was exceedingly fond of it, to judge from the quantity—no less than fifty jars or pitchers being prepared for his own daily consumption: two thousand more were allowed for that of his household." It is curious that Montezuma took no other beverage than chocolate, especially if it be true that the Aztecs also invented that fascinating drink, the cocktail (xoc-tl). How long this ancient people, students of the mysteries of culinary science, had known the art of preparing a drink from cacao, is not known, but it is evident that the cultivation of cacao received great attention in these parts, for if we read down the list of the tributes paid by different cities to the Lords of Mexico, we find "20 chests of ground chocolate, 20 bags of gold dust," again "80 loads of red chocolate, 20 lip-jewels of clear amber," and yet again "200 loads of chocolate."
Another people that share with the Aztecs the honour of being the first great cultivators of cacao are the Incas of Peru, that wonderful nation that knew not poverty.¨ (....)
¨Cacao was used by the Aztecs not only for the preparation of a beverage, but also as a circulating medium of exchange. For example, one could purchase a "tolerably good slave" for 100 beans. We read that: "Their currency consisted of transparent quills of gold dust, of bits of tin cut in the form of a T, and of bags of cacao containing a specified number of grains." "Blessed money," exclaims Peter Martyr, "which exempts its possessor from avarice, since it cannot be long hoarded, nor hidden underground!"
¨The word was derived from the Mexican chocolatl. The Mexicans used to froth their chocolatl with curious whisks made specially for the purpose . Thomas Gage suggests that choco, choco, choco is a vocal representation of the sound made by stirring chocolate. The suffix atl means water. According to Mr. W.J. Gordon, we owe the name of chocolate to a misprint. He states that Joseph Acosta, who wrote as early as 1604 of chocolatl, was made by the printer to write chocolaté, from which the English eliminated the accent, and the French the final letter.¨
OLD DRAWING OF AN AMERICAN INDIAN; AT HIS FEET A CHOCOLATE-CUP, CHOCOLATE-POT, AND CHOCOLATE WHISK OR "MOLINET." (From Traitez Nouveaux et Curieux du Café, du Thé, et du Chocolate. Dufour, 1693).
Excerpt from the book:
COCOA AND CHOCOLATE
Their History from Plantation to Consumer
ARTHUR W. KNAPP
B. Sc. (B'ham.), F.I.C., B. Sc. (Lond.)
Member of the Society of Public Analysts; Member of the Society of Chemical Industry; Fellow of the Institute of Hygiene.
Research Chemist to Messrs. Cadbury Bros., Ltd.
LONDON, CHAPMAN AND HALL, LTD.