“Cocoa…Might Well be Called the Vegetable Egg”

Detail of a Ghirardelli advertisement in The Utah Farmer (1915)

During my extensive explorations of Flickr Commons, I ran across a magazine called The Utah Farmer, a periodical for all kinds of farmers in the Utah area. Ghirardelli Chocolate, the legendary San Francisco chocolate company (“since 1852”), was one of their regular advertisers, with an ad in most issues.  One of their ads in 1915 had an interesting perspective about cocoa:

A great food scientist says: ‘Cocoa (Ghirardelli’s Ground Chocolate is a blend of the finest cocoa and pure sugar) might well be called the vegetable egg; but in fact cocoa contains a larger percentage of nutriment matter than the egg.’

It might be pleasant to think that cocoa is as nutritious as an egg, but I doubt that claim would stand up to much scrutiny (and what exactly is “nutriment matter”?).  

The complete advertisement is shown below.  Some of the men in the drawing are recurring characters in Ghirardelli advertisements across multiple publications — one is named Fred, another named John.  Two examples are Fred in a Ghirardelli advertisement in the January 1, 1916 Utah Farmer and John in a Ghirardelli advertisement in the October 1915 issue of Better Fruit. Some of the advertisements have a somewhat unusual style, leading off with “John” or “Fred” in huge letters, and then the pitch about why Ghirardelli is so great. It’s an attention getting approach in a magazine with tiny text, that’s for sure.


A Ghirardelli advertisement in The Utah Farmer (1915)

(For what it’s worth, Domenico Ghirardelli, the founder of the company, and several family members are buried in a large Ghirardelli family tomb in Mountain View Cemetery in Oakland, California)

Image Credit
Advertisement in The Utah Farmer, November 20, 1915 (page 10), from the Internet Archive, via the Internet Archive Book Images’s Flickr Commons collection. Public domain.

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