Chinese chili丨Cloud night talk

The entry of chili peppers into mainstream seasoning is at least after the “Daoguang”, and it has not been more than two hundred years ago.

The “big cafeteria” at the entrance is now the “Spicy Tiger Hall”. Originally, one-twentieth of the dishes were spicy, but now nine-tenths of the dishes are spicy, and there is almost no place to sink.

Heavy taste is sweeping the north and south with the momentum of destruction and decay, so that Shanghai’s local cuisine has also been reduced to the spicy gang, and the hustle and bustle of “can’t be spicy” is full of ears, so I thought, our history is roughly calculated for 5,000 years, how did the spicy days come about?

It should be known that the entry of chili peppers is still a matter of the end of the Ming Dynasty, originally it was an ornamental plant of Internet celebrities, and there was no chili pepper when the famous doctor Gu Zhong published his culinary masterpiece “Yang Xiaolu” in 1818 during the Jiaqing period of the Qing Dynasty, it can be seen that chili peppers enter the mainstream seasoning at least after “Daoguang”, so far less than two hundred years, then two hundred years ago did not be a person?

Derived from the five flavors of the “Neijing” – sour, bitter, sweet, spicy, salty, spicy refers to peppercorns, mustard, dogwood, ginger, they are just a sense of taste and smell very “rush” kind of sensory check-in, just like sweet is not equal to sweet, spicy is not equal to spicy, the difference is very large.

However, China has never been spicy? In fact, there is “spicy” in my country, and it is not only a thousand years, it has been 3,000 years ago, not peppercorns, not ginger, not mustard seeds – they all lack the fire sense of “spicy and fluffy”.

At least four poems in the Book of Poetry mention spicy butterflies, indicating that our ancestors have discovered “spicy”.

“Zhengfeng Shan You Fusu” “Xi has a dragon”, experts pointed out that “You Dragon” is spicy butterfly; The “blue” (spicy indigo blue) of “Xiaoya Green Mining” “Eventually picking blue, not ying” is the raw material for dyeing; “Zhou Song Liangxun” “its plutonium Zhao, with the spicy butterfly”, complaining that the spicy butterfly grows wildly and endangers crops; The “蓼” in “Zhou Song Xiaoyu” in “How difficult it is to be at home, and it is gathered in the lotus” is a borrowing of the bitter and spicy taste of the lotus, which is a metaphor for the hardships of life.

However, the “Book of Rites”, which is about 2500,<> years ago, explicitly incorporates “spicy” into the royal seasoning, and the “Li Ji Nei Ze” says, “Porpoise, wrapped bitter and solid; Chicken with Sauce; Multed fish, egg sauce solid butterfly; Turtle, Shishi sauce. The recurring word “real” means “stuffed in”, which means that when marinating pigs, chickens, fish, turtles and other delicacies, you must first stuff the spicy butterfly into their abdominal cavity to impregnate. The intention is very clear, love its spicy long spirit.

How spicy is chili? I have experienced. That year was still in the southern branch of Anhui, we went into the mountains to dig rockeries, suddenly anxious, saw a spicy field around, fire-like lotus flowers bloomed red and green, look quite poetic, so we rushed in (here from the palace 30 characters), but after the end of the matter found that there was no paper, so we took a large handful of spicy yarrow salute, embarrassing that the place immediately seemed to be on fire, hot to you, hot to jump, and finally we limped back to the dormitory like a crab.

But the story is not over, when I returned to the dormitory, I felt my eyes itchy, and when I rubbed my hands, I immediately made my three corpses jump, and my eye circles were “spicy” for several hours.

After a few days, I consulted the local villagers, and the villagers said that the yarrow grass is divided into dry and spicy and spicy water, and the spring and summer safflower flowers, the whole plant has a strong spicy taste, the weeds that people in the countryside abandon, the six animals do not touch, the children take the stone mortar to mash, use it in the small pond “spicy” fish, the fish faint, fishing them is like fishing for beans. Distilleries also commonly use it to squeeze juice for koji and sake brewing.

Years later, I worked as an investigative reporter, running north and south, traveling all over the place, and every time I saw the flourishing of chili on the roadside, in the fields, and by the house, except for the northeast, the Great Wall from Hebei to Guangxi, Guangdong, can be said to be everywhere, countless riverbanks, swamps, ponds, lakes and depressions, because of it, “the sky is red.”

It has many aliases, white chili butterfly, water red grass, butterfly grass, water butterfly, willow leaf butterfly, water pepper, spicy horse butterfly, capsicum grass, green lotus, spicy willow grass, or a taste of Chinese medicine, antidiarrheal, pain, external use can treat poisonous snake bites, skin eczema. Dyeing cloth, brewing wine, and medicine, it seems to be full of treasures, but it ends up lonely, the sun has sun, the wind has blown, the rain has hit, the frost has been pressed, that is, no one has cultivated it into a Chinese chili pepper, let alone 2,500 years ago, the “Book of Rites” discharged its series of menus, like the darling of the royal family, if its taste is perverse, it must not be on the table of the Son of Heaven.

But it was abandoned. Like the Sayings of Confucius, it was abandoned. It seems that the post will be deleted after the Han Dynasty, and it will become a weed after a long time, just as “Confucius Family Sayings” was suppressed into a pseudo-book by several Hongru.

In the nineties of last century, I interviewed Mr. Feng Guofei (a native of Yixing, Jiangsu Province, a famous botanist and horticulturist in China, one of the founders of the Kunming Botanical Institute, and the first director of the Kunming Botanical Garden) in Kunming for investigating the current situation of drugs.

Because I was “spicy” once, I also brought spicy pepper when I asked about poppy in an interview, that is, why chili pepper has not been successfully cultivated as “Chinese pepper” in the local area like South American pepper.

After a little contemplation, Feng Lao said that the formation of a national diet has different characteristics due to human factors, climate, temperature, moisture, light, soil pH, and soil microorganisms, which are both accidental and inevitable. For example, we are familiar with millet (millet), it is drought-tolerant in early spring, and it can mature rapidly in the same rainy and hot season environment in summer, so it can be deduced from dogtail grass into the pride of the Yellow River civilization, first of all, the “climate, temperature, moisture, light, soil pH, soil microorganisms” of the Yellow River Basin can meet its evolutionary conditions, which is its inevitability; The failure of chili to enter the sequence of artificial cultivation may be accidental, originally it may become “Chinese pepper” after thousands of years of cultivation, climate, temperature, moisture, light, soil pH, soil microorganisms should be able to meet its “spicy” requirements, but “personality” does not. Cultivation, after all, the human factor is first, so it failed to achieve positive results.

To put it bluntly, no group has cultivated it for a long time, and it hangs. On the other hand, the Indians, from 9000 BC contact with wild peppers, after thousands of years of unremitting cultivation to succeed, is it easy?

In fact, is this the only case of similar regrets? Let’s say that the kiwi fruit that everyone knows is also native to China, small in size, sour in taste, but transformed after being introduced and improved by foreign countries, both large and sweet and full of golden “clothes home”.

Every time I think about this, I think that this may be the historical fate of Chili as a plant.



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