Chocolate - Part 1

Chocolate's been around for a heck lot of time - and people have been addicted to it for a heck lot of time too. In the 18th century, at least not until the end of it, chocolate was a liquid drink, and of course, chocolate tablets did not exist. As a fan of chocolate I'll try to leave occasionally some paintings and historical facts about the "food of gods".

Fact 1: Murders! Chocolate was just the perfect beverage to use as a weapon! It was dark and the taste was strong, so you could not detect easily any poison in it. The number of victims is not small. I for myself think it's a good way to go. One example: once, a nobleman that dedicated himself to the tasting and improvement of chocolate ditched a lady, that planned a sweet revenge. She invited him over to her place and served him a delicious looking hot chocolate - with delicious poison. He drank it all, and the poison acted quickly. Before he died, he called his murderer and his epic last words were: "The chocolate would have tasted better if you had put some sugar in it - poison makes it sour!". Perhaps he knew from the beginning that it was poisoned - but what chocolate lover in his or her healthy mental state would waste a cup of chocolate?

A Lady pouring Chocolate ('La Chocolatière')
about 1744, Jean-Étienne Liotard


And now for something completely different - pimples! If there was a pimple / acne apocalypse teenagers would be happier on this earth. Nowadays we have products to help us fight those nasty little pustules, and a minimal degree of personal hygiene - but how did they do it? As you already know, their hygiene was terrible, and they wore all that powder and rouge - their face must have been spotty like the moon! Why, then, do we never hear anything about that? Sure, the powder must have covered those imperfections, but it was certainly a vicious cycle - you had a pimple; you put powder on your face and it covered it; but as you didn't wash, the powder only made the pimples worse; so you put more to disguise the problem; and so on and so forth. Of course artists did not have a tendency to depict those imperfections in their paintings, just like movie actors in historical movies - and all the other movies anyway - have make-up so they don't have spots.

Anyone with any information about this, please share! :-)

À propos of blood...

I know Halloween 's already far away, but I haven't posted anything in an outrageously long time, so...

I remember reading somewhere about a lovely way to get rid of lice problems. The XVII and XVIII century persons did not pay much attention to personal hygiene - oh, you know, four or five baths a year, if you're a hygiene freak. That and the rumor that Louis XIV only took three baths on his whole life, and that three of his feet toes fell when he removed a sock - everything was so dirty it had almost fossilized. Of course all that make up only made things worse, bur why not cover that smelly body odor with litres of perfume? Or even wear a handkerchief dipped in wine. Yummy.

But now, back to the lice problem. Of course those wigs were just the perfect nests to the next lice metropolis. So how did people occasionally get rid of lice? They took an ivory cylinder that was held around their neck with a ribbon - inside that cylinder was a little piece of cloth impregnated with blood. Gradually, the little beasts were attracted by the blood - and in the end of the day, you calmly disposed of the cloth, disposing therefore of your lice! Effective? Perhaps. Messy? Bloody, at least.