[Sca-cooks] 16th C Molinillo (chocolate stirring stick) found in St. Augustine, FL

Phil Troy / G. Tacitus Adamantius adamantius1 at verizon.net
Wed Dec 30 04:56:23 PST 2009

On Dec 30, 2009, at 1:54 AM, Stefan li Rous wrote:

> Among other comments in the article:
> "That humble whisk -- known as a molinillo -- is a big deal to archaeologists because it proves that chocolate dates back at least to the 1500s in St. Augustine."

It provides a clue. Proving the conclusion involves ruling out other possibilities, such as that form factor being applied to tools for other jobs, such as beating egg whites for confections or the repair of damaged wines, sugar, etc. Unless they found cocoa nibs clinging to it or something like that...

This could conceivably be like that case of a couple of years ago when archaeologists discovered "proof" of large-scale garum manufacture in the middle of the market square in the excavation of a Roman town: large rectangular stone tubs with fish bones in them. They so desperately wanted to believe it was for garum they simply ignored the fact that garum recipes almost invariably specify using a wooden tub, that the majority of the [surviving] described processes call for fish guts, and the extreme unlikelihood of any sort of mass manufacture, but especially the manufacture of something as potentially stinky as garum, right in the middle of a marketplace. So, they simply ignored the possibility that what they had was a vivarium for selling live fish, some of which ultimately died along with hundreds of people in a volcanic eruption.

Bah, humbug! Or to quote another great work of English literature, "What DO they teach the children in these schools today?"


"Most men worry about their own bellies, and other people's souls, when we all ought to worry about our own souls, and other people's bellies."
			-- Rabbi Israel Salanter

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