Spread of chocolate popularity from Europeans to broader audiences (e.g. non-elite Europe and North America, East Asia.
Elites are imitated. The nature of being elite, is being “good” or more specifically “better.” The terms “good,” and “better” are relative terms. Some-thing or situation is only good if there is a like thing or situation that it is somehow “better” than. Likewise, elites are considered elite because they are in one way or another considered better than non-elites, by the non-elites and to an extent themselves.
Humans aspire. They want to be better. They want to be “good.” In the world of the colonial era, who seemed better than the European Elites? Imagine you’re a colonized person. Jesus is clearly better than your Gods, because.. your temple is a church now. You may have believed yourself powerful, but the Europeans have just shown themselves more powerful, by beating you. You may have thought yourself smart, but you’ve been got by foreigners who now employ your own people against you, and you can’t figure your way out of this. Relative to the Europeans, you feel inferior. The Europeans seem to you, superior. This may go unspoken…but is your style of dress is changing? Did your son just say “amen?” Wait.. is your daughter checking him out? He’s dominating! (oh..)
In the social hierarchy of the Colonial world, Noble Europeans were the unquestioned elite. They were dominant. Despite and practically because of the fact that they conquered the world, the world aspired to be like them, in a way not dissimilar to the fact that “Khan” is still a title of honor in the lands Genghis raped.
Thus, when Rich Europeans started eating Chocolate, the world aspired to eat chocolate. Non-Europeans new to chocolate, saw it as the food of the rulers. The food of conquerors. Therefore, they wanted it, just as all things Ottoman were suddenly fashionable in the 15th and 16th century Europe, (during the Ottoman conquest of Europe.) In addition to the “empowering appeal” of colonial era chocolate. European dominion over the world’s fertile lands meant that such land would be put to grow European desires, in this case Cocoa. Throughout the tropical regions, people of all classes were exposed to the food, if not by being exposed to European consumption, then by growing it for European consumption. In the lower and classes of non-Europe the desire to enjoy chocolate was not only the desire to enjoy what the “betters” do, but also as desire to enjoy this thing you work on, in the sun, all day.
Also wanting chocolate, were poor Europeans. Though they were not “conquered,”they were still dominated. Just as poorer people aspire for wealth today, poorer people aspired for wealth then. Just as people follow and imitate the wealthy today, people followed and imitated the wealthy then. A few years ago, a big name was Paris Hilton. She loved and imitated, because she’s rich. Chocolate in the colonial era can be likened to the small dogs she made famous. Paris Hilton had small dogs, and her followers wanted small dogs. Small dogs became affordable, and her followers got small dogs. Her Followers got small dogs, everyone else got small dogs. Noble and royal woman had chocolate, common women wanted chocolate. Chocolate became affordable, they got chocolate. Women are half the population, Chocolate’s is now a thing. (x2, as men were also riding the chocolate wave.)
That’s the way aspiration and imitation works. It reveals a sort of dark side to human nature, in that the powerful are imitated, regardless of how they became such. In fact, those things they did to become powerful, are often soon socially acceptable. Will modern social engineering change this imitation-regardless trend? We’ll see.
But yeah Chocolate. I like chocolate. I like it because my momma likes it. She grew up in a then British colony favoring the British Cadbury fruit n nut, -which she still favors.
Willisford, Edwin Hellaby “Some aspects of the social power of wealth,” Woodruff-Collins Press, 1906
Nye, Joseph “Soft Power” Foreign policy number 80 (Twentieth Anniversary) Autum 1990
Kithab Lina, Dodds Claus, “Geopolitics, Public Diplomacy, and Soft Power” Middle East Journal of Culture and Communication, Volume 2 2009
Paris Hilton, Small dog: (the fact that this was same day news, references what I’m talking about)