While people in the New World were able to enjoy spicy food since the dawn of civilization, it wasn't until Columbus arrived in 1492 that the chili pepper spread to Europe, Africa and Asia.
Spicy food has been a South American tradition for at least 6,000 years. Of course, millennia ago the continent was not known by that name and it would not be until after the arrival of Columbus that the Old World would fall for the delightful culinary effects of chilis—the hottest peppers they had ever tasted.
Chili peppers are eaten by a quarter of the earth's population every day, in countries all over the globe. They are perennial shrubs belonging to the Capsicum family, and were unknown to a good chunk of the world until Christopher Columbus made his way to the New World in 1492. Columbus didn't “find” them, of course.
The Romans, on the other hand, adored spicing up their food. Pepper is called for in 75 percent of the 468 recipes found in the one-of-a-kind Roman period cookbook Apicius, where the spice is featured in sauces, roasted pork and hare, vegetable purees and mulled wines.
The earliest written records of spices come from ancient Egyptian, Chinese, and Indian cultures. The Ebers Papyrus from early Egypt dating from 1550 BCE describes some eight hundred different medicinal remedies and numerous medicinal procedures.
Why? A look into the anything-but-bland origins—and the fiery future—of a famously bland cuisine. If you grew up as I did — an American Jew with little faith but lots of historically informed anxiety — you have a “When they come for the Jews” plan.
Americans like to think that they invented fast food restaurants with McDonald's but the truth is the Romans had beaten them to it two thousand years ago.
Dinner consisted of three parts. The first course, called “gustum,” was the appetizer consisting of salads, eggs, cheeses with herbs, mushrooms, truffles, and various fruits. Next was the “mensa prima” (main course), which was a variety of meat, game, or fish. Most of those were served with sauce.
Sausages were popular with ancient Greeks, Romans and probably European tribes, so people have been enjoying hot dog-like snacks for most of recorded history. People know a good thing when they taste it! The hot dog popular today was invented somewhere in Europe, but the exact time and place is still debated.
Craig and Hayley Saul, also at York, have now found clear evidence that spices were intentionally added to food used in northern Europe by around 6100 years ago – the earliest known evidence of spiced food in Europe, and perhaps anywhere in the world.
Chilli has become central to Indian cuisines in the past five centuries, however Indian cuisines were never lacking in spice itself. Indian foods have always had punch to them, and that is attributed to the use of ingredients like pepper and ginger.
Since Thailand is considered a tropic region, its people adopted spicier foods to help them feel better (this is why you'll find spicier food in regions located near the equator). Spices like chilies also help food stay fresher for longer periods of time.
The medieval palate craved flavor; it became accustomed to foods heavily accented with exotic spices. This culinary preference was the result of the lucrative spice trade that came to dominate Europe during the Middle Ages, and the status symbol associated with them.
Stone Age Chefs Spiced Up Food Even 6,000 Years Ago : The Salt Looks like our prehistoric ancestors were bigger foodies than we realized. Archaeologists have found evidence that hunter-gatherers added a hot, mustard spice to their fish and meat thousands of years ago.
Merchants procured a wide range of spices for consumers, including pepper, ginger, cinnamon, clove, and saffron, as well as the now-obscure spices like grains of paradise and spikenard. Sugar was also used as a spice during the Middle Ages. Spices again became revered luxury items and status symbols across Europe.
The Romans generally ate one main meal (the cena) a day, around sunset. Originally this was eaten around midday, preceded by a light meal, often just a piece of bread, early in the morning. This was called ientaculum (or breakfast). Supper or vesperna was a smaller meal in the evening.
The core staples for slaves were low-quality bread and cheap wine, but was also supplemented by average fruits and vegetables, as well as soups, stews, and other hot meals.
There are similarities, but some key Italian ingredients and dishes were not found in ancient Roman cuisine—no pasta (introduced later) and no foods from the Americas, including tomatoes!
Lack of Refrigeration Meant Summer Meat Would Have Spoiled
Moreover, water was short, the summer was long....'" Davies explains that in the heat of the summer and without salt to preserve the meat, soldiers were reluctant to eat it for fear of getting sick from spoiled meat.
Did you know pizza took the United States by storm before it became popular in its native Italy? Pizza has a long history. Flatbreads with toppings were consumed by the ancient Egyptians, Romans and Greeks. (The latter ate a version with herbs and oil, similar to today's focaccia.)
The horizontal position was believed to aid digestion -- and it was the utmost expression of an elite standing. "The Romans actually ate lying on their bellies so the body weight was evenly spread out and helped them relax.
Spicy Foods Can Cause a “High”
Capsaicin causes pain and triggers the body to think it's in danger. In response, the body releases endorphins, which are pleasure causing hormones, this is the body's way of trying to eliminate the “threat” it feels when you eat spicy food.
1. Spicy food has longevity benefits. Eating spicy food six or seven days a week — even just once a day — lowered mortality rates by 14 percent, according to a large 2015 study by Harvard and China National Center for Disease Control and Prevention .