Peppers: A Story of Hot PursuitsBy Amal Naj
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- Author: Amal Naj
- Binding: Paperback
- Publisher: Brand: Vintage
- Published: 1993-07-27
Fired by his own love of hot peppers, Amal Naj takes us on a series of adventures in pursuit of the fruit that gives so much pleasure to aficionados (twenty-five percent of the world is hooked) and so much pain to the uninitiated. A Wall Street Journal reporter, Naj lures us into the underworld of the pepper culture, rich in lore and mysteries, as he takes us to Texas and New Mexico, where an industry of pepper farmers, breeders, botanists, and canners is at work to satisfy the ever-increasing appetite for hot food; to Avery Island, Louisiana, where one hot pepper--the tabasco--has been the subject of a long, bitter court battle reaching the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court; to Los Angeles, where an eminent respiratory doctor has been advocating the use of peppers as medicine (elsewhere pharmacists are discovering that capsaicin, the chemical that gives pepper its bite, can alleviate the agonizing pain of shingles); to Yucatan, to experience the hottest pepper on earth (and the most extraordinary of pepper cuisines); and to Bolivia, to join a botanist in search of the mother pepper that started it all. Throughout this fascinating journey, intriguing questions persist: How did man first acquire a taste for a fruit that bites back with impunity? Why do some countries like their food searingly hot while a neighboring region disdains the pepper altogether? What is it that gives such satisfaction--the mysterious fire that transforms an otherwise bland diet, or the pepper high that can be achieved by eating the assertive fruit with abandon? Whatever the case, one thing is certain: The lust for peppers is on the increase, and the sensation they arouse has broadened our taste spectrum. No longeris most of the world content with sweet, sour, bitter, and salty; now pungency must be included. And it is an addiction, Amal Naj makes clear in this richly informative book, that is irresistible.