Pepper Terroir

Chili.  Chili Pepper.  Capsicum.  Multiple monikers for a simple fruit in the nightshade family that has successfully colonized all cultures around the globe.

Chili Peppers and garlic at the Ernakulum Market, Cochin

This new world crop was part of the so called “Columbian Exchange”, using those newly opened passages to cross oceans and then continents.   Both the Spanish and the Portuguese had interests and influence across Asia and India, and these fiery fruits were quickly incorporated into local cuisine.

Chili Peppers (whole and ground) at Yangnyeong Market, Seoul

Oaxaca, Mexico has been a culinary mecca for decades and the chili has played an enormous role.  A market excursion wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the chili stalls.  As I’ve written in previous posts, this form of “shopping” goes way beyond simple provisioning.  It’s a both lifestyle and a lifeline to a different time…

Mark Bittman is referring to a particular terroir in his article.  But using an anthropomorphic conceit I’ll ask readers to consider the concept of “slow food” as a citizen of Pangaea.