Not too long ago, I helped a customer at the grocery store find some carob products. He was very adamant in his refusal to consume chocolate, and when I asked him what was wrong with chocolate, he looked at me with wide-eyed sincerity and said, "For one thing, cocoa...cocaine!"
"Oh," I said to him. "You know, they're not really the same. Chocolate is made from the cacao plant, and cocaine is made from the coca plant." The customer didn't appear to believe me, and he seemed just a little too firm in his beliefs for me to press the issue, but I would like to make it clear right here and now that chocolate and cocaine do not come from the same plant.
My self-righteous customer does not seem to be the only one holding this erroneous belief. Today, in fact, I read a news article stating that Bolivia was marketing an alternative to Coca-Cola made from the cocoa leaf. The article also stated that cocoa leaves are a major ingredient in cocaine. Now, the article cited a slightly longer article from the Irish Times as its source, so after I had spent a suitable amount of time scouring the Internet for articles about the difference between coca and cacao, and working myself into a fit of didactic rage, I looked for the article on the Irish Times website. I found it, and it said what I knew to be true--that coca, not cocoa, is the base ingredient for cocaine. So, I was relieved that the Irish Times wasn't leading people astray, but it was still too late. The damage had been done.
I must set the record straight. It's time for a botany lesson. Also a culinary lesson and a drug-manufacturing lesson--whee, you're in for a treat!
There. My desire for the truth has been satisfied. Researching that little lesson was a major effort. Now that you've been educated, please just do me one favor. Never look me in the eye and equate one of my favorite foods with an illegal drug.