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For a most of 146 years this phrase has been a part of the American lexicon. The old soda fountains are now a part of a lost culture though every once-in-a-while you’ll find one stashed away in a little country store on a lost back road. Reproductions don’t count as they do not have the same ambiance.
The story begins in 1886 when John Pemberton mixed some dried leaves from the coca shrub and an infusion of kola from nuts with other ingredients to generate a syrup. Frank Roberson was his bookkeeper and dub the brown liquid Coca-Cola in famous script we still see today. Pemberton, a pharmacist, had in mind using his concoction as a brain and nerve tonic which was paramount, at that time, in his profession.
Mr. Pemberton convinced the owner of a near-by soda fountain to mix the syrup with carbonated water and sell it for 5 cents a glass. Spin the clock to 1891, Asa G. Candler acquired the rights to CocaCola for $2,300. Even though Mr. Candler was an astute businessman he didn’t understand the potential of bottling his drink and sold the rights to do so to two guys from Tennessee for one dollar. That’s right, $1.00.
World War II spread ‘Coke’ around the world as authorities agreed GIs should be able to get their favorite beverage wherever they were stationed for a nickle and built 10 bottling plants at government expense to supply the demand. CocaCola was the first soft drink in space forty-three years later.
We’d slip off from school to visit a local café. One hot dog with onions, chili, and cheese, a bag of chips, and a small Coke was 25 cents. Parents were not understanding as to why we’d waste our lunch money on junk food after one of my sisters ratted us out.
Here is the recipe for the famous Coco-a-Cola cake:
2 c. self-rising flour, 2 c sugar, 3 T. cocoa, 1 c. CocaCola, 1 c. butter, 1 & ½ c. miniature marshmallows, 2 eggs beaten, ½ c. buttermilk, 1t. baking soda, and 1t. vanilla extract.
Grease & flour a 9×13 inch pan & set aside. In a large bowl, combine flour & sugar. In a saucepan combine the cocoa, CocaCola, butter & marshmallows and bring to a boil. Combine boiled mixture with the flour & sugar. In a separate bowl mix eggs, buttermilk, baking soda and vanilla; add to the first mixture. Pour into prepared pan and bake at 350 degrees for about 35 minutes or until cake tests done.
Frosting: ½ c. butter, 6 T. of cocoa, 6 T. Coco-Cola, 1 (16 oz.) box confectioner’s sugar & ½ c. chopped pecans
In saucepan, bring butter, cocoa, & coke to a boil. Stir in sugar and mix well. Stir in nuts. Spread over the cake while both the cake and frosting are still warm. Serves 16.
Recreated by the Culinary Institute of America from their grandmother’s notes.