An article in yesterday’s BBC online magazine describes ‘scientific’ evidence that chocolate makes you clever. This is based on the theory that rats and snails live longer and have better cognitive function when they eat chocolate. More tenuously, the authors link chocolate consumption with human intelligence, especially of the prize-winning variety. Apparently the number of Nobel prize-winners per thousands of population is highest in countries where the per capita consumption of chocolate is also highest. Unsurprisingly, Switzerland takes the (chocolate) biscuit, whilst Sweden is the odd one out, because although it has the second-highest number of Nobel prizes for its population size, chocolate consumption is low there. (The authors say, somewhat archly, that ‘this may be because Sweden has a patriotic bias’ when awarding Nobel prizes.) Speaking for myself, this is good news indeed: if I keep on eating chocolate at my present rate, I should be sweeping the literary board in no time: not only the Nobel prize for literature, but the Man Booker, the Pulitzer and even the Theakston’s Old Peculier Award all seem well within my grasp! A thought strikes me, however: Is my chocolate-eating prowess above average, average, or – whisper it quietly – possibly lower than the norm? I can’t do the maths!
Now the alpha male in the house (not a chocolate eater) is feeding the snails chocolate on his vegetable patch to win them over from his greens. He clearly needs to discover Green and Black’s for himself.