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Cachous are small scented tablets for sweetening the breath. They first appear to have come on the scene in the last quarter of the nineteenth century, and in 1898 the Army and Navy Co-operative Society price list gives a variety of options as to perfume, including ‘white rose, violet, heliotrope, and citron.’ The word is French, but comes ultimately from Malay kāchou. It originally stood for an astringent substance obtained from the bark of a variety of Asian trees and used, amongst many other purposes, as a spice: ‘Cardamome, Long Pepper, Cachou, etc.’ (Wyndham Beawes, Lex Mercatoria Rediviva, 1750); but the latinized catechu is now usually used for this.

Subjects: Cookery, Food, and Drink.

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