Fwd: Ouakaka or Ouakalke

Douglas G. Wilson douglas at NB.NET
Fri Jan 1 06:21:23 UTC 2010

Joel S. Berson wrote:
> Can anyone cast further light on this?  "Wakaka
> Powder"?  (Andrew Brown wrote that the usual
> suspects have been rounded up, and it doesn't seem to be in the OED.)

According to my brief G-books browse, wakaka (also wacaca, ouacaca,
houacaca, etc.) [des Indes etc.] was a preparation used as an appetite
stimulant and aphrodisiac, composed of sugar, cacao, vanilla, cinnamon,
sometimes ambergris etc.

Some recipes apparently included annatto (achiote, roucou, orlean, etc.)
... which I think might suggest a connection of the name with the
Mexican city-name Oaxaca (in the vicinity of which the annatto-chocolate
drink tascalate is popular, I think).

-- Doug Wilson

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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