D-Day, June 6, was a special moment in history when 160,000 troops landed on the beaches of Normandy, creating the turning point in the war against Germany.

To accomplish this great victory, the allies needed a special food that had to be light-weight, nutritious and provide lots and lots of energy to keep troops ready to fight.

The Hershey Chocolate Co. was approached in 1937 to create what was later called the “D ration bar.” It had to be high in energy, withstand high heat and weigh 4 ounces.

What they created isn’t the Hershey bar we know today, it was a blend of chocolate, sugar, cocoa butter, skim milk powder and oat flour. The mixture was so thick, it had to be hand molded at first. The bar was like a chocolate brick that had to be shaved with a knife to be eaten. The worst part was the taste, which was extremely bitter because of the chocolate and oat flour recipe.

Later in the war a tropical blend was created for the Pacific Campaign. Fortunately, because sugar was used to give quick energy to the troops, caramels along with orange and lemon-flavored powder drinks with lots of sugar were added to the soldier’s rations.

Hershey produced more than 3 billion bars for the war effort. I am sure after the war veterans couldn’t wait to eat Hershey chocolate kisses again. It’s amazing how something that tasted so bad helped win the war.

Here is a chocolate drink they should have added to the mess kits.

Mayan Chocolate Drink

Ingredients:

1/2 cup cocoa powder

2 medium size dried Chiles (1 teaspoon chile powder)

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

6-8 cups water

Directions:

Whip until foamy – enjoy!

Costa Magoulas is dean of the Mori Hosseini College of Hospitality and Culinary Management at Daytona State College. Contact him at (386) 506-3578 or costa_magoulas@daytonastate.edu.

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