14 February 2022  |

Dear Aunt Sevvy,

Recently my Adventist friend dropped off a plate of brownies at our house. I took one bite and I, um, kinda gagged. I didn’t know my friend was such a bad cook! Later she called and said, “How did you like the carob brownies? Just as good as chocolate, but way more healthy!”

My husband and I judged the first part of that claim definitely untrue, at least if your taste buds are primed for chocolate. We have no opinion on the health benefits. 

What’s the deal with Adventists and carob, Aunty?

Signed, The Dog Liked Them

Dear Liked,

You should know by now that for sincere health food fanatics, if something is too tasty, it must be bad for you! Chocolate is delicious, of course, but when someone pointed out to Adventists that it also has tiny amounts of caffeine, that was reason enough to find a substitute.

Carob—the pod of a desert tree in the pea family—has been food since ancient times. Some call it St. John’s bread, on the theory that when the Bible says John the Baptist lived on honey and locusts, he couldn’t have been eating grasshoppers—so he must have been munching on carob pods! 

(No, the Greek word akrides in Matthew 3:4 means, literally, grasshoppers. According to Leviticus 11:22 grasshoppers are “clean meat,” and people who eat them say they’re tasty and protein-rich—certainly good enough food for a guy who walked around in nothing but camel hair shorts.)

Aunty finds carob palatable. But healthier? Aunty asked a nutritionist friend, who pointed out that carob is just a dry powder, and to make it tasty you have to add sugar and fat. By the time you fix it up it isn’t any healthier than similarly-prepared chocolate. 

The plus side of carob? There’s no theobromine in it, so you can feed it to the dog. (Chocolate can’t be metabolized by dogs, though it’s perfectly safe for humans.)

By the way, Aunty thinks it’s rude to substitute ingredients because you don’t believe in something other people like to eat or drink. Aunty knows some Adventist people who ran a bed and breakfast. Because they didn’t believe in caffeine they secretly substituted decaf coffee for their guests. “They didn’t even notice,” they bragged. 

Bet they did—a little later in the day.

Eat whatever you want, but don’t try to fool others. 

Aunt Sevvy

You can write to Aunt Sevvy at DearAuntSevvy@gmail.com. Please keep questions or comments short. What you send us at this address won’t necessarily be, but could be, published—without identification of the writer. Aunt Sevvy writes her own column, and her opinions are not necessarily those of Adventist Today’s editors.

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