Apr 03

Waiting 60 years for a Toddy



-What’s the difference between a blogger and a journalist?

-Bloggers read and respond to their readers’ comments, journalists don’t! 

OK, please relax journalists, I understand that there are plenty of other differences such as a proper education and training in journalism, journalistic standards (properly citing sources, etc) and accountability. But there is a real point here – bloggers place far more importance on reader comments and interactions with their readers; journalists tend to adopt a more unidirectional approach.

I always like receiving comments on Eat Rio, but every so often something extra special comes in that stands out from the rest. And just such a comment appeared exactly a month ago.

It all started out quite unremarkably – someone called Tom left a comment on an old post about the chocolate milk drinks called Toddy and Toddynho. Tom was asking if anyone knew where he could purchase this chocolate milk in the US. But once the full story unfolded this turned into a rather heart-warming tale.

As you can see from the images at the top of this post, Toddy has been around for a long time. That creepy image on the left dates from 1939, at which point they were claiming that Toddy ‘closes the door on sickness’. The image on the right is from 30 years later when they were telling kids to drink Toddy chilled to grow big and strong like Daddy.

What I didn’t know is that back in World War 2, the US troops were given cans of Toddy as part of their rations! Tom’s father was one of those troops and brought back some of this precious chocolate drink for his kids.


Tom’s father back in his army days. © Image courtesy of Tom Rabideau.


Well, we all know what kids are like with chocolate – Tom loved it! And I suspect something about the specialness of this drink, the fact that it had been brought especially for him by his father, etched Toddy into Tom’s memory.

Dad and Tom

Tom and his father back in the day. © Image courtesy of Tom Rabideau.


Well, the years passed and although Tom didn’t get to taste Toddy again, he never forgot that sweet, creamy, chocolate elixir. At some point, Tom found a supplier of the powdered version of Toddy, but was disappointed to find that it didn’t match his memories from all those years before.

Then, when browsing the internet one day, Tom stumbled across Eat Rio and my post about his beloved drink. He decided to leave a comment to see if anyone knew of a supplier in the US. Well, I put the question to the people following the Eat Rio Facebook Page.



Well, before long we had some suggestions. It turned out the the first suggested supplier had burnt down in a fire last summer, but then my friend Monika from Maní Pão de Queijo found it listed on Amazon! A few days passed and I wondered if another mishap had thwarted Tom’s long running quest to recapture that magical taste from his childhood. Then I received a new comment on the blog:



Mission accomplished! Tom was kind enough to send me some family photos and also the final shot of him enjoying the Toddynho for which he had waited 6 decades!

Tom drinking Toddynho


Now if that doesn’t warm your heart then you might want to check if you still have one! Now it just remains for me to thank Tom, Monika and all the other readers who helped with the hunt – we got there in the end!


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  1. Alex

    While in Rio I developed quite the taste for Brazilian women. Do you know anywhere in London where I may be able to find some?

    1. tomlemes

      Alex, I’ll get my people on it!

      1. Alex

        Haha thanks. But in all seriousness would be great to know of a few London based brazilian haunts for the world cup.

        1. tomlemes

          Hmmm, back when I actually lived in London (back when Brazil was just another country to me), the only place I knew of that had Brazilian connections was that bar/club in Holborn called Guanabara – I bet they’ll be showing the games. Last time I went back, I also found a Brazilian restaurant out near Bethnal Green, but I have to say it wasn’t exactly amazing.

          1. Andrew Francis

            As far as Brazilian restaurants in London go, I think the most authentic one is Barraco on a tiny back street in Kilburn. You’ll find a lot of the standard everyday dishes like feijoada and moqueca, and bar snacks like bolinho de bacalhau, pasteis and mandioca frita. The quality is pretty good even if the decor, as the name suggests, isn’t anything to write home about.

          2. tomlemes

            Thanks Andrew! I’m going to be back in London at the end of this month so I may well check it out (though in all honesty I’ll probably be spending most of my time taking advantage of the food I can’t get here in Brazil! I know we talked about this last time I was back, but let me know if you fancy grabbing a pint or two! :)

          3. Andrew Francis

            Rolling up to a Brazilian restaurant (replace with your nationality of choice) when you’ve just stepped off the plane from Brazil is really sad so I fully expect you to gorge on a steady diet of steak and kidney puddings, jellied eels and fry ups (just kidding).

            The pint is a great idea but it still won’t be this time as I will be in Brazil at the end of the month. It sounds like you and I are trying to avoid being on the same continent at the same time. Either that or Easter is just a good time to travel. :-)

          4. tomlemes

            Ah, hey-ho, never mind – we’ll catch each other next time. All that talk of steak and kidney puddings and jellied eels has made me hungry!! 😉

  2. HelenaCruz

    Tom, i looooooved the whole story! I went back and read last year’s post and it really warms your heart to read the development of the story… lovely!

    Btw, I’m sharing my favourite chocolate powder from when I was a child in Portugal: Suchard express! SUCHARD.jpg

    All my friends were into Nesquik but (just like you) my mum wouldn’t allow Nesquik in our house… (i have to ask her why, actually!!) xD

    1. tomlemes

      Ahhhh, thanks Helena! I’m glad you liked the story – I was so happy to be able to help out :)

      And that Suchard chocolate looks good – I love that 80s style packaging. Uber-retro-cool!

      1. The Gritty Poet

        Humm, “Sabe Mais A Chocolate” is Suchard’s sales pitch. I guess “sabe” translates to resembles in Portugal. Interesting (actually wierd – but live and let live I guess). Plus people have strange relationships with their comfort foods. I still pine for Wendy’s Chilli while watching TV because I was often treated a bowl during nightly sitcoms.

  3. Christopher Wright

    Blogger solves 50 year chocolate mystery! Great story that pulls the heart strings.

    I found an Australian cafe bar in Madrid last week that did a vegemite breakfast. All my vivid New Zealand childhood memories (lived there for a year both when 4 and 9) came flooding back bringing a tear to my eye.

    Amazing how tastes, sounds and images can trigger such strong emotions.


    1. Andrew Francis

      Smells will do it too and you don’t even have to smell them. A few years ago I read that Crayola changed the formula and nowadays crayons don’t smell like they used to. Just reading that brought back a vivid memory of the smell itself and related childhood memories.

      1. The Gritty Poet

        What! Crayola changed their formula? Why would you do that Crayola, why? Doesn´t anyone care about tradition nowadays? Now, with the crayons altered, if Elmer´s Glue decides to change their formula then a huge blow will be dealt to my sensorial childhood memories (and yes, I did taste some of that glue; but only on special occassions). And please, no changes to this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RC_Cola

  4. A Guy From England Whose Name Isn't Guy

    What a great story! Now I feel guilty for being surrounded by Toddy and not liking it very much.

    1. tomlemes

      Ha ha! But then imagine all the Brazilians living in the UK right now and constantly shunning Marmite :)

      Loving the new username btw – that’s cleared up that point of confusion!

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