Chasing Chiles: Hot Spots along the Pepper Trail [NOOK Book]

Overview

Chasing Chiles looks at both the future of place-based foods and the effects of climate change on agriculture through the lens of the chile pepper-from the farmers who cultivate this iconic crop to the cuisines and cultural traditions in which peppers play a huge role.


Why chile peppers? Both a spice and a vegetable, chile peppers have captivated imaginations and taste buds for thousands of years. Native to Mesoamerica and the New World, chiles are currently grown on every ...

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Chasing Chiles: Hot Spots along the Pepper Trail

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Overview

Chasing Chiles looks at both the future of place-based foods and the effects of climate change on agriculture through the lens of the chile pepper-from the farmers who cultivate this iconic crop to the cuisines and cultural traditions in which peppers play a huge role.


Why chile peppers? Both a spice and a vegetable, chile peppers have captivated imaginations and taste buds for thousands of years. Native to Mesoamerica and the New World, chiles are currently grown on every continent, since their relatively recent introduction to Europe (in the early 1500s via Christopher Columbus). Chiles are delicious, dynamic, and very diverse-they have been rapidly adopted, adapted, and assimilated into numerous world cuisines, and while malleable to a degree, certain heirloom varieties are deeply tied to place and culture-but now accelerating climate change may be scrambling their terroir.


Over a year-long journey, three pepper-loving gastronauts-an agroecologist, a chef, and an ethnobotanist-set out to find the real stories of America's rarest heirloom chile varieties, and learn about the changing climate from farmers and other people who live by the pepper, and who, lately, have been adapting to shifting growing conditions and weather patterns. They put a face on an issue that has been made far too abstract for our own good.


Chasing Chiles is not your archetypal book about climate change, with facts and computer models delivered by a distant narrator. On the contrary, these three dedicated chileheads look and listen, sit down to eat, and get stories and recipes from on the ground-in farmers' fields, local cafes, and the desert-scrub hillsides across North America. From the Sonoran Desert to Santa Fe and St. Augustine (the two oldest cities in the U.S.), from the marshes of Avery Island in Cajun Louisiana to the thin limestone soils of the Yucatan, this book looks at how and why climate change will continue to affect our palates and our producers, and how it already has.

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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews

Three self-described "gastronauts" plumb climate change through the piquant prism of chile peppers.

The journey is the destination as the earnest trio launch their "spice ship" throughout the United States and Mexico to learn how shifting weather patterns have been affecting the noble pepper's destiny—and the fate of those who rely on the crop. The authors—a chef, an agroecologist and an ethnobotanist—rely on listening (and, of course, eating) during theirone-year odyssey, harvesting anecdotes to better understand the global dilemma. "We had a hunch that climate change wasn't just out there—in the polar ice caps and in receding glaciers—but in here, in our food system," they write. On their travels, the authors meet men like Fernando Niño Estudillo, a spice trader in Sonora who describes his recent quandary: "I've been ten years in the business; most years I drive truckloads of chiltepines to Tijuana myself. Only this last year has the wild chile crop ever failed me...I didn't even make a single trip to the border." But it's not all serious—the trio relishes chiles, after all. In Florida, as they prepare to dig into a jar of datil peppers in white vinegar, they write, "We smiled at one another like old junkies who have just discovered that someone left a couple of joints in their midst."

The occasionally florid writing notwithstanding, the book provides well-crafted regional recipes and edifying passages about the surveyed chiles.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781603583756
  • Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing
  • Publication date: 3/16/2011
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 1,228,551
  • File size: 4 MB

Meet the Author

Gary Nabhan is the W.K. Kellogg Endowed Chair in Sustainable Food Systems at the University of Arizona, as well as the permaculture designer and orchard-keeper of Almuniya de los Zopilotes Experimental Farm in Patagonia, Arizona. Widely acknowledged as a pioneer in the local-food movement and grassroots seed conservation, Nabhan was honored by Utne Reader in 2011 as one of twelve people making the world a better place to live. A recipient of a MacArthur Genius Award, his twenty-four books have been translated into six languages.

Kraig Kraft is an agroecologist and writer based in Managua, Nicaragua. He completed his PhD on the origins and diversity of wild and domesticated chile peppers at the University of California, Davis. Kraft is the author of a popular blog titled Chasing Chiles, and has written for several regional magazines, including Edible Sacramento, as well as technical journals, and is currently working on a coffee sustainability project in Central America. He is the author of Chasing Chiles: Hot Spots along the Pepper Trail, along with Gary Paul Nabhan and Kurt Michael Friese.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

List of Recipes xiii

Hot Spots: An Introduction xv

Chapter 1 Finding the Wildness of Chiles in Sonora 1

Chapter 2 The Datil Pepper: First Chile of the First Coast 37

Chapter 3 Hard Times and Habaneros in the Yucatán 70

Chapter 4 Tabascos: A Cure for That Sinking Feeling in Cajun Country 100

Chapter 5 Strings of Chiles Like Rosary Beads Along the Rio Grande 127

Chapter 6 A Peek at Our Pick of Imperiled Peppers 152

Afterword: Eating and Growing Food in Ways That Counter Climate Change 175

Literature Cited 181

Index 187

About the Authors 195

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