Archives for: December 2008
Once upon a time in Oriental climes, there languished huge populations of exhausted progeny of migrants and nomads. Now largely settled in China, Korea, SE Asia, Siam, and India, they received travelers from the West hungry for their silks and spices, curious about their ancient and enigmatic ways. The West was in temporary ascendancy, crossing the high seas using largely eastern technologies.
In their lust for routes to the East, Europeans sailed westward to the Americas, bringing to these virgin cultures their bacteria and sugar cane, dogs and horses, trading these for gold, silver, emeralds, cacao, vanilla, potatoes, tomatoes, and hot peppers. Their hosts were decimated.
You see, the Western Hemisphere, certainly South of the Rio Grande, was populated exclusively by those of bloodtype O, with no immunity to the yellow fever and malaria carried relatively easily by their A "discoverers". Surely it baffled the Europeans that these natives were so strangely fragile and short-lived.
Arriving back in Europe, the New World's bounty was appreciated. "Che bello frutta!" exclaimed the Italians over the pomodoro/tomato. "OLaLa! Les pommes--de terre!" marvelled the French over potatoes. Dessert was certainly never the same after chocolate's and vanilla's arrival. But --- What to do with this succulent spicy vegetable? "Too hot!" gasped alarmed Europeans, choking on peppers large and small.
In Europe's fringe areas of North Africa andHungary/Balkans, however, where Oriental/Arab/Black influence was stronger, the flavor was found intriguing, even marvelous. Turks, Persians, all were excited, but the Great Awakening took place in Goa, South India, when the Portuguese for the first time brought the new discovery for trade in the early 16th century. The Indians bought America's hot peppers from these Europeans, and the cuisines of south India, of Siam, Burma and China were forever changed. A fire was lit under an introspective culture in preparation for its re-emergence on the world -- global -- scene.
Peppers. The B bloodgroup, of specifically Asian provenance, though represented moderately in Africa, Western Russia and the Balkans via westward migrations, began to thrive on them, but had lived for thousands of years without them. European A's, finding themselves in possession of a food item so nourishing to the native O population whence it had come, found that they themselves simply could not stomach it! Probably recognizing that the Easterners in their midst seemed to have no problems digesting peppers, these A's cannily carried them to the Asian market as a (hot) novelty item. (And how many Spaniards and Portuguese died of scurvy on their return voyages in the 15th-17th centuries because this amazing vitamin C source burned their throats!)
As a B myself, I'm quite grateful to the O's and A's who gave their lives, whether on their own soil or on the high seas, that I and my outlying people might be delightfully energized.
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You may not (yet) understand the role of the hot pepper in the inevitable Asian/B-allele's ascendancy. That's fine with us. We don't mind a cloak of mystique; we can see over the next dune.