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2005-01-14 - 11:47 a.m.

somehow in all of the warring, in all of the trading, in all of the imperialism, in all of the transatlantic shipping...it is salt and pepper that sit on every table. who decided that? i was eating some black pepper breadsticks thinking i really loved cracked black pepper. but do i love it more than garlic? i understand salt's value, what with transporting flesh and all. but who decided that only black pepper would do? not paprika. not cayenne.

No plant since the apple of Eden has had a larger, more telling effect on human history than the black pepper vine. Beginning in 327 B.C., when Alexander the Great invaded India and discovered the pleasures of well-seasoned food, wars have been fought, kingdoms over- thrown, unknown oceans braved, and continents discovered-all for the sake of peppercorns.

Attila the Hun, holding all of Rome hostage, demanded 3,000 pounds of them as tribute. Throughout medieval Europe, pepper was commonly traded, ounce for ounce, for gold. 

In 1488, in search of a water route to the spice markets of India, Bartholomeu Dias first sailed the raging waters around Africa's Cape of Good Hope. Four years later, looking for an easier route to the same markets, Columbus landed in the New World. 

In the centuries that followed, European nations vied viciously with each other in colonizing tropical lands and trying to comer the spice market.

cut me some slack. i have a friend that reads my journal in large chunks when she wants to catch up. she decided this space has been used to speak primarily of boys and men. maybe she's right. i use it as a place to work things out. and i guess i haven't really worked out love.

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