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Date: 2016-11-16 07:25 am (UTC)
rinue: (Default)
From: [personal profile] rinue
Well, mostly it's a matter of a long process of accumulation, to be able to sort of know what I don't know some of the time? Like, I had an instinct about it that was based on some children's poems, but then I did some googling around to check myself. Oscar Wilde and cocoa didn't turn up much beyond the same thing you'd already said, but I could go look at the history of Cadbury's, which has been around long enough that it was the major chocolatier in England back then as well as now. I knew a bit about the "Dutch process" of alkalyzing chocolate from my experience with baking (which I'm not brilliant at but can do), and I knew about English dairy industry production rates versus availability of domestic produce thanks to rationing during WWII. Then it was a matter of using combinations of that information in search strings to get at the likely answer.

I don't know whether I'm explaining this well. I think the key insight was "research chocolate instead of Oscar Wilde, because this was going to be central to the history of chocolate in England but not central to most people's understanding of Oscar Wilde."
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