KEEP SOME COPHA IN THE CUPBOARD
There is an Australian urban myth that Kellogs invented Copha for the express purpose of making chocolate crackles. Well let’s explode that for a start. The advertisement below appeared in the Women’s Weekly in December 1937. It is the first known mention of chocolate crackles. Yes, they were invented by the makers of Copha itself, who wanted us to use their product in ALL our cooking because…..well it was wholesome, they told us. Mind you, it was made of solidified coconut oil.
Hmm, 100 per cent fat, 98 per cent of it saturated.
Crackles are simple enough for kids to make themselves . Click here for a video demonstration.
My mother always had Copha on hand, although she only used it for making chocolate crackles and white Christmas slice. The slice was a sickly mix of powdered milk, dried fruit, icing sugar and rice bubbles. It was often left out for Santa, who quietly put it back in the tin.
Family traditions are carried on relentlessly until there is rebellion in the ranks. My sister Robbie told me she was shocked when her pre-teen daughter said kindly, ‘Mum, please stop making those chocolate crackles. We don’t really like them.’ Oh, good grief! White Christmas was probably rejected as well. I must ask whether Robbie’s grandchildren find them acceptable. The little girls are still at primary school, so I’d say the answer is a resounding YES!
Copha as we know it was developed in Australia in 1933. Previously there had been an attempt to produce a copha based butter substitute, which infuriated dairy farmers and led to the product being banned.
MAY 31, 1832 – Speaking at the half-yearly meeting of the Colac Dairying Company, the chairman of directors, Mr J. Rankin, stated that the manufacture of copha butter, the sale of which had grown to such an extent that it became a serious menace to the dairying industry, was now prohibited.
The trademark Copha was eventually registered in 1936. One of its best qualities is that it remains stable in temperatures of up to 36 degrees. Just the ticket in our hot Aussie summers. It does not try to replace butter, and thus poses no threat to dairy farmers.
The fleet of delivery vans pictured below illustrates how popular the product was in those early days.
Remember that 1970’s hit by Barry Manilow? I always sing; ‘At the copha, copha cabana!’ It’s my personal anthem to chocolate crackles and white Christmas.
HERE IS ANOTHER STORY ABOUT AN AUSSIE FAVOURITE – THE LAMINGTON
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