Wednesday, April 07, 2010

A Chocolate Emergency.

When you think of emergency food – food for real emergencies, that is – do you think of canned soups or bags of rice or military-style ration packs or something else altogether? I understand that military rations often include chocolate, which would therefore make them my choice. I am sure the military version is not your single-plantation, chilli and vanilla infused gourmet version of course, but it is chocolate nevertheless, and there is a strong argument for the case that there is no such thing as bad chocolate.

I don’t know of any modern manufacturers using the emergency-value of chocolate for marketing purposes, but it would seem to me to be a marvelous guilt-reducing approach. The makers of the famous Fry’s chocolate used the idea in a series of advertisements in the classified section of the newspapers in the 1920’s.

contains the maximum of full cream milk, pure sugar and choicest cocoa beans making a delicious sweetmeat of the greatest food value, much appreciated by outdoor people, for whom a slice of bread and a piece of Fry’s Milk Chocolate make a delightful emergency meal.
The Times, Friday, Jun 10, 1921.

Perhaps the idea of chocolate biscuits is extending the ‘emergency food’ concept a little too far? Not in WW II it wasn’t – at least, according to the Cake and Biscuit Manufacturer’s Alliance. Their advertisements made a case for the nutritional value too. Now there is a great campaign!

Here they are – joining forces.
Its all done by uncannily clever machinery – although supplies are reduced, Chocolate Biscuits are to be had for the searching. So don’t forget them when you are spending your points.
And remember that with the Biscuit containing the most nourishing constituents of wheat and the chocolate its sugar, fat, and vitalizing iron-ration values, Chocolate Biscuits provide you with the sustenance of the perfect emergency meal.

Here is a lovely recipe for chocolate biscuits that has surely stood the test of time. It is from Lloyd's Weekly Newspaper (London, England) of Sunday, June 9, 1895

Chocolate biscuits.
Beat together for fifteen minutes the yolks of four eggs, one ounce of good grated chocolate flavoured with vanilla, and four ounces of castor sugar. Then whisk to a stiff froth the whites of four eggs, and mix with the other ingredients. Lastly add four ounces of finely-sifted flour, whihch must be stirred very slowly till thoroughly mixed; on no account may the mixture be rapidly beaten after the flour is in. With the aid of a spoon drop equal quantities of the pste into a biscuit-tin lined with well-greased paper, and bake in a very slack oven or 25 or 30 minutes.

Quotation for the Day.
Never mind about 1066 William the Conqueror, 1087 William the Second. Such things are not going to affect one's life...but 1932 the Mars Bar and 1936 Maltesers and 1937 the Kit Kat - these dates are milestones in history and should be seared into the memory of every child in the country.
Roald Dahl


eclectic said...

what do they mean by a "slack oven", Janet? Cheers, Ellen

Ken Albala said...

Bad chocolate? Don't you think so? Hersheys is disgustingly plastic-like. Cadbury's is revolting. Actually most mass-produced chocolate is completely uninteresting to me.

The Old Foodie said...

Hi Ellen - a 'slack' oven is a cooling oven - the heat "slackening off" after being heated to cook the bread. Things were cooked progressively as the heat of the oven died.

Ken: I am not sure I agree completely. Faced with no chocolate, or Hersheys, I am not sure I could refuse the Hersheys. Shame on me, I know.