With most firsthand account books, someone dies or at the very least you get a graphic description of some horrible event, complete with gory photos. This is typically followed by a round of talk show appearances, and up until a few years ago, crying on TV in front of Oprah. You wont’ find any of that crap in this upbeat chile love letter. Unlike many eyewitness-esque works, Kelly Urig’s New Mexico Chiles: History, Legend, and Lore is a positive tribute to an icon from the writer’s childhood. Here’s what I mean…
“You’re Steve Grasse?” the tattooed brand ambassador for Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum asked him. “Yeah” Steve responded, nonchalantly.
That question is particularly interesting because outside of a very small corner of the liquor industry, nobody knows who this Steve guy is.
Gin mastermind Charles Tanqueray can be a mysterious player in the world of liquor. Nearly 200 years after he crafted one of the world’s most lasting booze brands, there are few details about Charles that follow his green barrel-shaped bottles around the world. In a phone interview, Tanqueray’s current Master Distiller Tom Nichol gave me some insight into the legendary man.
It occurred to me recently that outside of the iconic square bottle with the black label marked “Old No. 7,” most guys don’t know a lot about Jack Daniel. Like many other distillers, particularly those in the age before multi-billion dollar liquor conglomerates, Jack is a fascinating guy to learn about.
The most likely scenario for the introduction and spread of chile peppers into Africa south of the Sahara is as follows. Varieties of Capsicum annuum and chinense were introduced into all West and East African Portuguese ports during the 40 years between 1493 and 1533, with the introduction into West Africa logically preceding that of East Africa. The chiles were first grown in small garden plots in coastal towns by the Portuguese settlers and later by the Africans.
During the Roman empire, the spice trade was dominated by the Arabs. Their ships sailed from the Red Sea to India, where they bought spices carried by Malay traders from the Spice Islands.
The Andean area produces more than 200 varieties of potatoes, and some of these relatives can be found in North American markets.