Blog Schedule

I post on Monday with an occasional random blog thrown in for good measure. I do my best to answer all comments via email and visit around on the days I post.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

IWSG, Chocolate, and Being Thankful

Posting the First Wednesday of every month, the Insecure Writer's Support Group, is the brainchild of Alex Cavanaugh. YOU can sign up HERE to participate.

Every month a question will be posed that may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Remember, the question is optional. You can write about anything that relates to your writing journey.

Let's give a warm welcome to our co-hosts: Sadira Stone, Patricia Josephine, Lisa Buie-Collard, Erika Beebe, and C. Lee McKenzie!

This month's question is: What's the strangest thing you've ever googled in researching a story?

I don't know that I'd call anything I've researched strange. Interesting yes, but not strange. I haven't researched anything like what kinds to poisons to use, or how long does it take to choke a person to death, or is there a ghost of JFK haunting the White House, but I have done some very interesting and in depth research on, among other things, chocolate. 

Cocoa Pods
Cocoa beans come from this fruit. The seeds are
surrounded by a sweet meat.The trees are native
to Central America and only grow within a small
 latitudinal range.
Did you know that cocoa beans were literally used as money? A 100 beans could get you a jackrabbit or a turkey hen. A tom was worth 200. A turnkey egg, an avocado, or a fish wrapped in corn husks was worth three beans. Among the Maya and Aztec only the wealthy and royals drank hot chocolate - which was laced with chili - because doing so meant they were literally drinking their wealth. It is because of these two facts that we get the term about money not growing on trees, which at one time it really did. 

Supposedly chocolate in candy form didn't make an appearance until the 19th century. However, there's strong indications that soon after the Spaniards conquered the Aztecs and Mayas nuns added sugar to chocolate and were the first to make candies.  In 1544 it was a delegation of Maya nobles to the court of Prince Phillip who first brought chocolate to the Old World, not Cortes as some would have us believe. The Spanish crown became so enthralled with drinking chocolate they wanted to keep it secret and only a few monks, hidden away in Spanish 
monasteries, knew the recipe for preparing the beans. But eventually the secret was leaked and it became the new rage in Europe.
Cups and saucers (3) MET DT3891
Pedro de Toledo
By the way, it's because of drinking hot chocolate that we have saucers. Sometime between 1639 and 1648 the Viceroy of Peru, one Pedro de Toledo the Marques de Mancerea, became concerned when a lady spilled chocolate on her gown. He had the problem corrected by having a silversmith make a plate with a raised ring in the center of it. A small cup could then be set on the plate without fear of it slipping off. The "mancerina," or saucer, was born. This lead to potters making matching cups and saucers.

Here endth the lesson.

Being Thankful
Today I'm thankful for, what else, chocolate!

What are you thankful for? Do you have a favorite kind of chocolate? A favorite candy bar? And what's the strangest thing you've ever researched?


  1. Chocolate is definitely a fun thing to know a lot about.

  2. This was fun! I had read once that chocolate was used as currency. The interesting part is that it became that way before anyone added sugar. As most folks know, chocolate without sugar is pretty darn bitter!

  3. You learned several things with that chocolate research. Shame pine cones aren't considered money - we'd be rich.
    And thanks for the Halloween eCard!

  4. Since I don't eat chocolate, I would've had a lot more cocoa beans than most.

  5. Researching cocoa sounds so much more fun than poisons. I'm thankful for chocolate too!

  6. I love that the saying about money and trees came from chocolate. I'm a huge fan. I think my favorite right now is Peppermint Patties. Or M and Ms. Depends on my mood.

  7. So interesting, Bish. Finding out about things like cocoa would make my mouth water and my brain fire up with all kinds of questions. One would be, Where do I get some of that high quality cocoa? Happy 1st Wednesday in November.

  8. I did not know cocoa beans were used as money. That is a fascinating tidbit. :)

  9. Uh yes, I did a research paper on chocolate in college. I remember all those facts. It was a tasty essay. :)

  10. Thanks for the history lesson! How cool. I also didn't know that about saucers!

  11. This is fascinating! I didn't know any of it. I haven't researched how long it takes to choke a person to death, but I have looked up how you know a person has been choked and what happens as a person is being choked. I'm thankful for every single person and thing in my life. And that I haven't been choked.

  12. Dark chocolate with nuts and Lindor truffles are my favorites. Yum. I've research cryosleep, long-term space travel, and signs of a stroke. The last was the most helpful.

  13. Hope you've checked your email recently!

  14. Bish, please check your spam folder for an urgent email.

  15. This post made me feel hungry. I wonder why?

  16. My research is more along the lines of yours- interesting but nothing too strange. I had no idea about saucers- so I learned a bit here today. Thanks! Hope all is well. Happy Thanksgiving!


Your Random Thoughts are most welcome!