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Distributed for Reaktion Books


A Global History

There are some of us who can’t even stand to look at them—and others who can’t live without them: chillies have been searing tongues and watering eyes for centuries in innumerable global cuisines. In this book, Heather Arndt Anderson explores the many ways nature has attempted to take the roofs of our mouths off—from the deceptively vegetal-looking jalapeno to the fire-red ghost pepper—and the many ways we have gleefully risen to the challenge.
            Anderson tells the story of the spicy berry’s rise to prominence, showing that it was cultivated and venerated by the ancient people of Mesoamerica for millennia before Spanish explorers brought it back to Europe. She traces the chilli’s spread along trading routes to every corner of the globe, and she explores the many important spiritual and cultural links that we have formed with it, from its use as an aphrodisiac to, in more modern times, an especially masochistic kind of eating competition. Ultimately, she uses the chili to tell a larger story of global trade, showing how the spread of spicy cuisine can tell us much about the global exchange—and sometimes domination—of culture. Mixing history, botany, and cooking, this entertaining read will give your bookshelf just the kick it needs.

128 pages | 45 color plates, 15 halftones | 5 x 7 3/4 | © 2016


Food and Gastronomy

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Chillies, a new book from the “Edible” series, packs significant information into a tiny volume. Renowned food writer Anderson provides an authoritative, thorough, well-researched, readable history of chili peppers, their discovery by Europeans, their use in the Americas, and their utilization in European, Asian, African, and Latin American food cultures and medicinal traditions. The author speaks to the great diversity of chili peppers, the Scoville scale to measure heat, and the reasons chili peppers, though painful for some, have become so pleasurable to millions around the world. On a graver note, the book also speaks to the broader picture of globalization and world trade, making ambitious parallels between the exchange of New World foodstuffs for colonization, slavery, and European cultural domination. Plentiful illustrations from historical documents, herbals, travel documents, and cookbooks complement the volume, along with a section of recipes and a list of organizations that promote the use of chili peppers. Recommended.”


Table of Contents

1 Taxonomy and Ecology
2 American Roots
3 Worldwide Adoption
4 Healing Properties
5 Chilli Pepper Madness
Appendix: When Pa Firs’ Et Tabasco Sauce
Select Bibliography
Websites and Associations
Photo Acknowledgements

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