Chili

Inhabitants of the New World had chile peppers and the makings of taco chips 6,100 years ago, according to new research that examined the bowl-scrapings of people sprinkled throughout Central America and the Amazon basin.

Upcoming questions on the research agenda — and this is not a joke — include: Did they have salsa? When did they get beer?

The findings described today in a 15-author report in the journal Science make chile pepper the oldest spice in use in the Americas and one of the oldest in the world.

The researchers believe further study may show the fiery pod was used 1,000 years earlier than their current oldest specimen, as it shows evidence of having been domesticated, a process that would have taken time. If so, that would put chile pepper in the same league (although probably not the same millennium) as hoarier spices such as coriander, capers and fenugreek. Read the rest of this entry »

Advertisements