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How the Pepper got into the Chilli Pepper...

I have noticed that within my (some would say small, I would say select and discerning) Instagram following there are quite a proportion who are into chilies/chillies.

So partially for them, here are some food related facts from around the world starting with a chili one. I should point out from the start, I use the word ‘fact’ very loosely here; so happy to be corrected in the comments and move some, if not all of these ‘facts’ into the urban-myth or bunkum file if required.

Image by Annillart from Pixabay

The Chili Pepper; Early Spanish explorers to Central America and the Caribbean were actually looking for an alternative route to South East Asia from Europe, where they hoped to trade for, amongst other things, peppers (as in pepper corns) which at the time were an incredibly expensive and sought after commodity for flavouring food. They didn’t find pepper corns, but they did come across chilies. The thinking goes, they called them “Chili Peppers” to make them more appealing and acceptable when they brought them back to Europe. Now all this seems quite plausible in the English language, but my Spanish is not good enough to be sure if this story holds any water? So happy to be corrected...

Allspice; is not in fact a mixture of spices, (like five spice); it comes from a single plant, the unripe berry of the Pimenta plant. The resultant spice was highly prized, as it approximated the taste of a number of different spices in one source. This was all quite a shocking revelation for me; like finding out the Spice Girls were really just one person all along!

Ronald McDonald is actually called Donald McDonald in Japan. This comes as a surprise to some Japanese when they travel abroad. Somewhere there is probably a Japanese Blogger writing about how Donald McDonald it actually called Ronald in other places, which goes to show it’s all about perspective.

The Hadza tribe in Africa have some of the healthiest mixtures of gut bacteria (or biome) know to science; amongst other things in their healthy diet is honeycomb. However, they don’t just eat the honey. They eat the wax, pupae in brood cells, pollen; the whole lot. Next time I am extracting a bit of honey from my hive, maybe I won’t worry too much about filtering it.

The meaning of the word Kangaroo. There is a theory in wide circulation that Kangaroo means “I don’t know”. So the story goes, Captain Cook landed on Australian continent in 1770 and met some First Nation inhabitants. While they were attempting to verbally communicate, a Kangaroo bounded past them and back into the bush and Cook pointed and asked "what is that?". Kangaroo’s were by chance, actually very rare in that area and so the reply came back as “I don’t know”. It's a great story and an example of how misunderstanding can occur in language; it is also almost certainly completely untrue. It might just be a corruption of the local name for Kangaroo, or some experts think it may just be a corruption of the local word for edible or “good to eat”, as in "that thing? yeah that's good to eat". In truth nobody really knows for sure.

Snickers Bars used to be called Marathon Bars in the UK until 1990, when Mars decided to change the name to Snickers to be consistent with other countries around the world. Non-awareness of this fact is still used in the UK census to test if respondents should be classified as Millennials.

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