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American foods thread

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    Posted: 14-Oct-2007 at 01:07
The Americas contributed with more than half the foods the world consumes today. The variety is really amazing, from corn to potatoes, chocolate to chilies and from pinapples to vanilla. The list is really endless.
This thread I open will be to talk about the products of the Americans that the ancient amerindians domesticated and breed to convert them in those foods that are consume around the globe today. The predominancy of New Word vegetables and fruits in the world table is really amazing and constrast sharply with the almost zero contribution of domestic animal foods, with the exception of turkey.
Let's go ahead with this thread on food and agriculture starting with the kind of the foods of the Americas, that was a sacred plant for the ancient peoples of these lands: Maize.
Thread continues...
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  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14-Oct-2007 at 01:12

Corn or maize (zea mays) is a domesticated plant of the Americas. Along with many other indigenous plants like beans, squash, melons, tobacco, and roots such as Jerusalem artichoke, European colonists in America quickly adopted maize agriculture from Native Americans. Crops developed by Native Americans quickly spread to other parts of the world as well.

Over a period of thousands of years, Native Americans purposefully transformed maize through special cultivation techniques. Maize was developed from a wild grass (Teosinte) originally growing in Central America (southern Mexico) 7,000 years ago. The ancestral kernels of Teosinte looked very different from today's corn. These kernels were small and were not fused together like the kernels on the husked ear of early maize and modern corn.

By systematically collecting and cultivating those plants best suited for human consumption, Native Americans encouraged the formation of ears or cobs on early maize. The first ears of maize were only a few inches long and had only eight rows of kernels. Cob length and size of early maize grew over the next several thousand years which gradually increased the yields of each crop.

Eventually the productivity of maize cultivation was great enough to make it possible and worthwhile for a family to produce food for the bulk of their diet for an entire year from a small area. Although maize agriculture permitted a family to live in one place for an extended period of time, the commitment to agriculture involved demands on human time and labor and often restricted human mobility. The genetic alterations in teosinte changed its value as a food resource and at the same time affected the human scheduling necessary for its effective procurement.

Maize in New England

As the lifeways of mobile hunting and gathering were often transformed into sedentary agricultural customs, very slowly the cultivation of maize, along with beans and squash, was introduced into the southwestern and southeastern parts of North America. The practice of maize agriculture did not reach southern New England until about a thousand years ago.

A Penobscot man described the transformation of maize for the shorter growing season of northern New England. Maize was observed to grow in a series of segments, like other members of the grass family, which took approximately one phase of the moon to form, with approximately seven segments in all, from which ears were produced only at the joints of the segments. Native Americans of northern New England gradually encouraged the formation of ears at the lower joints of the stalk by planting kernels from these ears. Eventually, as ears were regularly produced at the lower joints of the cornstalk, the crop was adapted to the shorter growing season of the north and matured within three months of planting.

Native Americans of New England planted corn in household gardens and in more extensive fields adjacent to their villages. Fields were often cleared by controlled burning which enriched not only the soil but the plant and animal communities as well. Slash and burn agriculture also helped create an open forest environment, free of underbrush, which made plant collecting and hunting easier.

Agricultural fields consisted of small mounds of tilled earth, placed a meter or two apart sometimes in rows and other times randomly placed. Kernels of corn and beans were planted in the raised piles of soil to provide the support of the cornstalk for the bean vine to grow around. The spaces in between the mounds were planted with squash or mellon seeds. The three crops complemented each other both in the field and in their combined nutrition.

Native Americans discovered that, unlike wild plants and animals, a surplus of maize could be grown and harvested without harming their environment. Tribes in southern New England harvested great amounts of maize and dried them in heaps upon mats. The drying piles of maize, usually two or three for each Narragansett family, often contained from 12 to 20 bushels of the grain. Surplus maize would be stored in underground storage pits, ingeniously constructed and lined with grasses to prevent mildew or spoiling, for winter consumption of the grain.

The European accounts of Josselyn in 1674, indicate Native Americans used bags and sacks to store powdered cornmeal, "which they make use of when stormie weather or the like will not suffer them to look out for their food". Parched cornmeal made an excellent food for traveling. Roger Williams in 1643, describes small traveling baskets: "I have travelled with neere 200. of them at once, neere 100. miles through the woods, every man carrying a little Basket of this [Nokehick] at his back, and sometimes in a hollow Leather Girdle about his middle, sufficient for a man three or foure daies".

Cornhusk bed mat; Iroquois.
Rolled husks sewn with basswood cord.
Braided Edge.
Cornhusk foot mat; Seneca.
Braided and sewn in a coil.
Fringe from spliced cornhusks left on one side.

Native American Origins of Maize

Many Native American traditions, stories and ceremonies surround corn, one of the "three sisters" (maize, beans and squash). Even in New England there are many variations on how maize was brought or introduced to Native Americans here. Generally in southern New England, maize is described as a gift of Cautantowwit, a deity associated with the southwestern direction; that kernels of maize and beans were delivered by the crow, or in other versions the black-bird. Responsible for bringing maize, the crow would not be harmed even for damaging the cornfield. Other Algonquian legends recount maize brought by a person sent from the Great Spirit as a gift of thanks.

Cornhusk, wool and basswood cord
twined bag; Narragansett (made in 1675).
Cornhusk moccasin; Seneca.
Two-strand twined construction.

New England tribes from the Mohegan in Connecticut to the Iroquois in the Great Lakes region had rituals and ceremonies of thanksgiving for the planting and harvesting of corn. One ceremony, the Green Corn ceremony of New England tribes, accompanies the fall harvest. Around August Mahican men return from temporary camps to the village to help bring in the harvest and to take part in the Green Corn ceremony which celebrates the first fruits of the season. Many tribes also had ceremonies for seed planting to ensure healthy crops as well as corn testing ceremonies once the crops were harvested.

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  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14-Oct-2007 at 01:14
Maize and religion:


Cropped from larger photo at: Food & Culture

Author's Note

Maize, or "corn," a staple of life in both Central and South America, also played a major religious and ritual role in the lives of these ancient peoples.  This page looks at Latin American mythologies surrounding this sacred food; the page also looks at the troubled future of maize in our own time.

Since few of these sites are directly focused on maize (unlike the situation for the Lore & History of Chocolate page), and since references to maize are often buried within a labyrinth of unrelated data, I am going to include long quotes where appropriate.  (FYI: a number of these sites will be cross-listed elsewhere in non-maize contexts.)

Sculpture mosaic of Mayan Maize god
BarbaraW. Fash 1996 (see directly below)
This Harvard site (cross-listed under Meso-America) is about a modern replica of an inaccessible Mayan temple in Copan (Honduras) dating from the time of Copn's tenth ruler, Moon-Jaguar (reigned A.D. 553 to 578).  A major deity in the original temple is the Mayan maize god:
As a whole, the temple represents a deified mountain - a place of creation, a source of life-giving water (such as a cave, spring, stream, or waterfall), and birthplace of the sacred maize plant.  The head of this mountain deity, which combines the attributes of both mother and father, is depicted on the lower central part of the roof crest, with a cleft in its forehead from which maize sprouts. Draped over the sacred mountain images and framing the image of a cave in the upper story are two-headed celestial dragons. Mythical creatures that combine attributes of snakes and crocodiles, they are depicted like smoke emanating from the skeletal-head censer in the center.
Representations of the Sun God adorn the lower parts of the temple. The sun's daily journey and the life cycle of maize were linked together in veneration of the process of birth, life, death, and rebirth.

Dancing Mayan Maize God
c. 700AD
[Source unknown]
This site is entitled "Precolumbian Antecedents for Modern Highland Mayan Ceremonialism" by Allen J. Christenson from the Department of Art History at the University of Texas at Austin.  The ritual data is detailed and vivid -- and woven into it is excellent information on the Mayan Maize God -- I'm quoting the relevant passages in full [for footnotes and figures, see the site itself]:
The best source for ancient highland Maya cosmology is the Popol Vuh which describes the creation of the world and the role of the gods in maintaining life.  The text relates the history of a god named Hun Hunahpu, likely a manifestation of the Precolumbian Maya god of maize, who descended beneath a great mountain into the underworld realm of Xibalba, there to confront the twin lords of death.  After a number of trials, the maize god was ultimately defeated and sacrificed.  The victorious underworld lords then took his head and placed it in the branches of a dead tree.  The instant the head touched the tree, it miraculously came to life with abundant foliage and fruits which resembled the gods skull.  In ancient Maya art, this was the sacred World Tree which represented the ability of life to spring forth from the realm of the dead.  Like the maize god, the dead seed of corn is planted beneath the earth in the underworld.  With time, the grain of maize germinates and sprouts new life from its dry, bony husk.  Ancient art often depicts the maize god rising out of a cleft in the earth with his arms outstretched, a symbol of his rebirth from death as a maize plant.  In the central panel from the Temple of the Foliated Cross at Palenque, the World Tree appears as a fruitful stalk of maize, each ear bearing the head of the maize god.  [Section 7]
Ancient Maya inscriptions on carved stone stelae and architecture continue the story.  After he rose from the dead, the maize god was paddled in a canoe to the center of the sky..., located at the base of the Milky Way near the constellation of Gemini, which the Maya represented as a pair of copulating peccaries.   There the maize god oversaw the setting of three great stones in the constellation of Orion.  This was the great hearth of the universe.  Fire was kindled there, quickening the cosmos and allowing life to emerge.  Today the Maya still have three-stone hearths in the center of their houses.  It is around this hearth that the family spends much of its indoor time, gathered at the place where maize, still the main staple of the Maya diet, is prepared and cooked to sustain life.   After the foundations of the hearth were set, the maize god erected a great World Tree to support the vault of the heavens, and to serve as the axis point around which the world would be created.  Its roots extended down into the underworld, while its branches stretched out to the four cardinal directions. [Section 8]

...There the [shaman] rises as if from death with his arms outstretched, the same posture assumed by the maize god in ancient Maya artistic convention....  Members of the confraternity confirmed to me that this stance represents the outstretched arms of the great World Tree which the Maya worship as the center of the cosmos and a symbolic token of renewed life.... [An excerpt from Section 13]

Huichol Maize Mother and her Five Daughters
Mexico, undated
(See directly below)
This is a Huichol myth about the origins of maize.  The website from the Chemistry Laboratory of Natural Resources of the Universidad Michoacana tries to make the myth fit genetic theory too tightly for my taste so I'm just excerpting the myth.  (The science is fascinating, however, so you might wish to take a look -- see below for a direct link.)
 ...The Mother of Maize changed her dove appearance to a human one; She introduced to the young man her 5 daughters, who symbolize the five maize sacred colors: white, red, yellow, spotted and blue. As the young man was hungry The Mother of Maize gave him a kettle filled with tortillas and a pot filled with atole; he didn't belive that those could satiate his hunger, but the tortillas and atole were renewed magicaly, in a way that he couldn't finish them.  The Mother of Maize asked him to choose one of her daughters and he took the Girl of Blue Maize, the most beauty and sacred of them all...
[The site took the legend from the book "Mitos y arte huicoles," published by Sep/Setentas and written by Peter T. Furst and Salomn Nahmad.]
This is another page from the above site and gives a very brief overview of research into the origins of maize.  The site's argument is that maize originated in Mexico's Tehuacn Puebla directly out of a wild strain known as teocinte.  The interesting argument involves heavy metals from nearby volcanoes leaching into local waters and creating a mutant.
This site by Vicente Goyzueta (cross-listed on my Andean Peoples page) suggests that maize originated in South America 1000 years earlier than in Meso America:
"It is a really difficult task to do an inventory of all the cultivated and consumed vegetable products in ancient Peru. Modern world recognizes that approximately 60% of the vegetables consumed today all over the world are native from this part of the earth. That is, adapted, domesticated, acclimatized and even hybridized by our ancient cultures. The most important products in the Tawantinsuyo's daily diet were the " Sara" - Maize or Corn- (Zea Mays) and " Papa" - Potato- (Solanum tuberosum). Maize in its primitive form began being cultivated over here since the year 6,275 B.C. (Verified by Earle Smith Jr., N.Y. 1980, based in some samples gathered in the "Guitarrero" cave, Ancash), while that in Mexico (samples of the "El Riego" cave, Tehuacan) since the year 5,200 B.C. approximately."
This is a very brief promotion for a summer 1999 book, Corn In Clay: Maize Paleoethnobotany In Precolumbian Art, written by Mary W. Eubanks.  The title suggests a fascinating work.

From the Codex Fejervary-Mayer:
Aztec Farmers and their changing fortunes in growing maize
(Courtesy of City College of New York)

Author's Note:

Aztec farmers offered various sacrifices to the Corn God.  The ancient Maya did the same.  The Huichol of today still "feed" their newly planted corn with blood from a sacred deer, whose spirit is said to guide the Huichol shamen to the flesh-and-blood deer willing to make this sacrifice.  The Hopi continue to offer ritual dances to the powerful corn spirits.
We Westerners are different.  We offer nothing.  Instead, we genetically modify ("GM") our corn in order to force the plant to give us more.

Many of us are increasingly troubled by this situation.  It isn't about returning to the tradition of offering blood from another creature (no matter how hallowed, such a sacrifice always saddens me) -- it is about returning to the tradition of showing respect to the natural world, whose vast powers we cannot begin to fathom.  When I came across this disturbing report from Jody Miller, I had yet another reason for concern......
This page is about the threat to monarch butterflies from genetically modified corn as well (as from logging operations in Mexico).  Miller writes:
A new threat has been identified in the United States.  Researchers have found that wind-borne pollen from genetically altered corn can kill monarch butterflies. This Bt corn protects itself with a toxin it produces in its tissues. When researches fed monarch catepillars leaves that were dusted with Bt pollen, half died in four days.
The data is sobering and clear.  The page also includes good links to newspapers and other sources.
This is another page on genetically modified corn and the danger it poses to the monarch butterfly.  The page begins with the following statement:
Monarch butterlies may be threatened by pollen from genetically modified maize.  That's the conclusion of a new Monarch Butterfly survival study by Cornell University published in Nature (21 May 1999).
The page offers background on the survival study as well as links to groups trying to protect monarch butterflies in the high-altitude oyamel fir forests in central Mexico where they winter.

Moche Maize-Cob Mother and Children
Peru, 450-550AD
I scanned this unique artwork from TIME-LIFE Books' MYTH AND MANKIND  Series / Lost Realms of Gold: South American Myth; 1998:31.
Because maize has been anthropomorphized by this unknown Moche artist, the Time-Life authors suggest that this "links humans to agriculture and also suggests the mountains that overlooked the fields."

It is a brilliant image for the interconnectedness of humanity with the natural world......and a fitting place to end this page.

Edited by pinguin - 14-Oct-2007 at 01:15
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  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14-Oct-2007 at 01:30
Modern corn:
Americans and Europeans usually don't eat corn in the cob and tamales like Latin Americans do. However, they consume a lot of corn, anyways, no matter they usually don't notice it. Samples:
Corn flakes
Pop Corn
Mexican foods:
Hominy, that people of Southern U.S. enjoys
Corn Syrup:
And as ingredient of many products like margarines and others.
However, as sad as it could sound for a sacred plant, corn is used in the U.S. and Europe mainly to feed pigs, rather than for human consumption.
Corn is used to produce bio-fuel as well. Corn is also the main component of bourbon and and the famous Corn Whiskeys of the U.S.
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  Quote jdalton Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14-Oct-2007 at 08:00
So what other crops are there that come from the Americas? You mentioned corn, beans, squash, potatoes, chocolate, chilies, tobacco, and I didn't know about vanilla or pineapples. There are also tomatoes, sunflowers (from the Mississippi), sugar beets (I think?), cotton (not unique to the Americas and not food, but it was domesticated), quinoa, peanuts, agave, sweet potatoes... what am I missing? 
Lords of Death and Life (a Mesoamerican webcomic)
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  Quote Yaomitl Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14-Oct-2007 at 13:09
I hope no-one minds, but here's an essay I wrote on maize, specifically as it relates to Centeotl. Pinguin's post mentioned the 'three sisters' - an ancient farming practice which I've briefly referred to in the third paragraph down:

Centeotl and the other Deities comprising his complex can be said to rank amongst the upper echelons of the Nahua pantheon and for good reason - in the pre-Colombian Valley of Mexico, maize was an essential staple of life and, by extension, civilisation itself.

Whilst there is no way of saying for sure quite where or when the first nomadic inhabitants of the Americas took to sedentary living, doubtless it must have coincided with the domestication of certain plants - that is to say the point at which hunter-gatherers went from simply eating what they found to saving the seeds for cultivation. In 1960, Richard MacNeish began excavating caves in the Tehuacan Valley of southeastern Puebla 200 kilometres southeast of Mexico City whereupon he found evidence of early agricultural practice dating to around 2750 BCE, although the date has since been pushed back further still to 3450 BCE when an early form of maize was being consumed at the Guila Naquitz cave in the Oaxaca Valley. A large variety of maize types begins to appear in the archaeological record at around 1100 BCE suggesting that archaic farmers had taken to crossbreeding strains of the plant in order to achieve a higher nutritional yield, and by more recent times maize had become a major staple of the Mesoamerican diet.

Maize is high in terms of both protein and caloric yield, produces more flour and less bran than wheat, and is a highly water-efficient crop providing the soil is kept moist. Its elevated status within the Mesoamerican economy is perhaps evident from the multiplicity of Gods of either direct or indirect relation to the plant. Possibly excepting maguey and cotton, no other specific crop is anywhere near so well represented within the Nahua pantheon. If this seems unusual given that maize was only one of (arguably) four staple food plants, it might perhaps be explained by an indigenous American farming method popularly termed three sisters. This practice alternates a maize plant with climbing beans which utilise its stem for support and supply nitrogen to the soil, and squashes which provide ground cover, reducing the space available to weeds and preventing the soil from becoming too dry. A field planted out in this way makes excellent use of the available space and supplies three of the staple food plants (the fourth being chilli) of the Mesoamerican diet. Maize perhaps earns its place within the hierarchy for the fact that, in this system at least, it gives both shelter and support to the other two.

Although Centeotl (sometimes written as Cinteotl or even Tzinteotl) has a relatively well-defined function within the Nahua pantheon, his relationship to other Deities is less easily quantified being as it varies wildly from one source to the next. Fr. Bernardino de Sahagns Codex Florentino describes a ritual performance conducted during the festival of Ochpaniztli (meaning Sweeping) wherein Deity impersonators enact the birth of Centeotl as the son of Toci and Huitzilopochtli. Elsewhere in Sahagns narrative, The Prayer to Tlaloc pairs Centeotl with Chicomecoatl as a celestial couple, or so it is inferred. Conversely, Historia de los Mexicanos por sus Pinturas describes Centeotls birth thus:

"...a son named Piltzintecuhtli was born to the first man and woman [Cipactonal and Oxomoco]. Because he needed someone to marry, the Gods made a woman for him from the hairs of Xochiquetzal, and she became his first wife.

...In the sixth year after the deluge [6-Acatl] Cinteutl was born to Piltzintecuhtli, who was son of the first man."

If the identity of Centeotls mother seems somewhat ambiguous in this passage, then the matter is clarified to some extent when the same text later refers directly to Piltzintecuhtlis first wife as Xochiquetzal herself. An equally perplexing account of Centeotls parentage is given in Histoire du Mechique (110) wherein it is stated that:

"The Gods went down into a cave, where the God called Piltzintecuhtli was lying with a Goddess called Xochipilli, who gave birth to a God called Cinteotl, who burrowed under the earth, and cotton emerged from his hair, from one ear emerged some very good seed called hua[uht]zontli, which they enjoyed eating... and from the other [ear], they drew another seed.

From his nose came out another seed, called chian, which is good to drink in the summertime. From his fingers came a fruit called camotli which is like the turnip, a very good product.

From his nails came a kind of large maize, which is the cereal they eat now; and from the rest of his body came many other products which humans sow and harvest.

Because of this, that God was loved by all the Gods, and they called him Tlazopilli, which means beloved lord.*1"

The above statement of Xochipilli being Centeotls mother is so unusual as to suggest a slip of the authors pen, for nowhere else is this God referred to in the feminine. Most likely is that Xochipilli has, in this instance, been confused with Xochiquetzal (his female counterpart or sister in other variants upon the myth) and that the narrative of Histoire du Mechique derives from a source recounting the same pairing of Xochiquetzal and Piltzintecuhtli as appears in Historia de los Mexicanos por sus Pinturas. On the other hand, Codex Telleriano-Remensis (folio 22v) describes Xochiquetzal as the wife of Centeotl. Elsewhere, a commentary upon Codex Telleriano-Remensis (folio 14r) offered in Codex Ros (folio 21r) suggests that Centeotl was the son of Mayahuel, the octli Goddess:

"The Holy Scripture well observes that "wine changes the heart", since it caused these people to believe that from this woman (Mayaguil) Cinteotl sprung whose name signifies the origin of the gods; giving us to understand, that from the vine which bears the grape the gods derived their origin. It properly signifies abundance, satiety, or the intoxication caused by wine."

However, Eloise Quiones Keber (1995, p174) suggests that the commentator may have arrived at this (probably erroneous) conclusion from a misreading of his source. Still further afield, Centeotl is alternately named as the son of Tlazolteotl, son of Chicomecoatl, and even the father of Xochipilli, none of which constitute significant variations upon those familial connections already mentioned above. The opening lines of Hymn Sung at a Fast every Eight Years (otherwise known as The Song of Atamalqualoiya) from Fr. Bernardino de Sahagns Primeros Memoriales appears to reference one of these latter loyalties, as Rosemary Joyce translates*2:

"My heart is a flower bursting open.

Our mother has come.

The Goddess has come, Tlazolteotl.

Cinteotl was born in Tamoanchan where the flowers lift their heads.

Ce Xochitl is his name."

Daniel Brinton has a subtly different take on this song, presenting the second and third lines as Our mother has satisfied her passion, the Goddess Tlazolteotl has satisfied her passion. These words were set down in the original Nahuatl as Yecoc ye tonan, yecoc ye teutla tlacolteutla, and whilst neither translation is necessarily inaccurate, the verb derives from yecoa which can mean to finish, or to conclude something, or more significantly, to copulate with someone. Therefore the inference, although not explicitly stated, is that Centeotl was born to Tlazolteotl. Given the somewhat fluid character of Nahua Deities, these apparently conflicting accounts of the maize Gods origin differ only in terms of surface detail, for the essence of the roles occupied by the numerous performers remains more or less consistent. Although Toci, Xochiquetzal, Chicomecoatl, Tlazolteotl, and even Mayahuel all inhabit a variety of theological niches, they are all, to one degree or another, aspects of the earth Goddess. Similarly, whether named as Huitzilopochtli or Piltzintecuhtli, Centeotls father is an expression of the suns daily course across the sky. Both the Ochpaniztli ritual described by Sahagn, and the myths related in Historia de los Mexicanos por sus Pinturas and Histoire du Mechique express Centeotl as the result of a union between heaven and earth, the solar and the terrestrial.

However, the conflicting accounts do not end at the maize Gods genealogy. A number of sources refer to Centeotl in feminine terms, and this ambiguity is reflected in the name, the -teo-tl suffix being a gender neutral qualifier of sacred properties. Given the very general paradigm of feminine fertility Deities, one might be given to wonder whether this reflects some act of patriarchal revisionism on the part of the empire building states that arose from Nahua culture towards the end of the pre-Colombian era. Could, one might enquire, Centeotl be a male imposition upon the cult of an older female Deity? Whilst there may be an argument for Centeotl as an amended form of Centeocihuatl, the much older maize Goddess of the Toltecs, this does not otherwise seem to be the case. Firstly, as a masculine maize Deity, Centeotl is far from unique within the broader span of a Mesoamerican culture which also included Xipe Totec, Pito Cozobi (the Classic era Zapotec maize God), Hun Hunahpu and Yum Uil (both Mayan), and Homshuk (Zoque-Popoluca) amongst numerous others. Furthermore, it would seem a somewhat redundant act in terms of reinforcing a patriarchy whilst other aspects of the maize Goddess remained so well represented within the pantheon. Indeed, there is much to suggest that Centeotls following was somewhat secondary to that of Chicomecoatl, his occasional consort.

Centeotls masculine form most likely refers to a stage in the life cycle of the maize plant. Whereas the feminine maize Goddess Xilonen represents the cob in its juvenile state - small, tender, and green with a fluorescence of silky tassels - Centeotl is the ripening kernel as it grows large, becoming sturdy and tumescent (to present a wholly appropriate sexual simile). This shift of gender was echoed in certain elements of ritual enactment performed during the festival of Ochpaniztli (referred to earlier) which occurred in Tenochtitlan during the first half of September by the Julian calendar. This somewhat sanguinary rite entailed a woman who had been designated the living iteration of the Goddess Teteoinnan being decapitated in a manner which Inga Clendinnen (1991, p341n84) suggests must necessarily have echoed the sheering of a maize cob from its stem. The body was flayed and the skin removed more or less whole whereupon a priest chosen for his masculine bearing would ease himself into the freshly detached hide, wearing it as a body stocking, complete with breasts and feminine genitalia. Thus attired, he would then take upon the role of the Goddess Toci. Meanwhile a second priest would become Centeotl by virtue of a mask fashioned from a patch of skin cut from the thigh of the same hide, along with a serrated cap associated with the frost God Itzlacoliuhqui, hence symbolising frost on the maize and the vulnerability of the young plant.

Centeotl therefore seems to have had a dual role alternating between the feminine (anything gestated within the symbolic womb of the earth) and masculine (maize brought to maturation by sunlight). The first principle is inherent in the subterranean setting of his nativity as related in Histoire du Mechique, the derivation of the mask worn by the Centeotl impersonator during Ochpaniztli, the Gods growth as a maize cob from the feminine form of Xilonen, and the claim of his being born in Tamoanchan as referenced by Hymn Sung at a Fast every Eight Years. Tamoanchan (possibly meaning Your Dwelling has Come to an End*3) is the mythic paradise which, according to Eduard Selers Comentarios al Cdice Borgia (1905), is to be found in the west*4 - traditionally the feminine direction as alluded to in Fr. Bernardino de Sahagns Cdice Matritense del Real Palacio (VII, folio 269r):

"And the fourth annual sign, house, was called the sign of the region of women; for so it was said, it is orientated towards the women (West)."

Further to this, a smattering of tales*5 make reference to a somewhat obscure region named Cincalco (meaning In the House of Maize) as the place of either the death or post-mortem existence of Huemac, last ruler of the Toltecs. Cincalco varies from a heavenly afterlife to a Christian-influenced version of hell, but always it is subterranean and therefore a restatement of the same symbols which convey the account of Centeotls birth - the region below the earth as a composite place of death (in this case, that of Huemac) and birth (again in the form of maize). Whether Cincalco can be aligned with the north (the traditional underworld, as is suggested by Fr. Diego Durns account) or the west (perhaps, rather tenuously, through the maize reference) is difficult to state with any degree of conviction. Geographically Cincalco is described as a cave in the vicinity of Chapultepec, and although Chapultepec lay directly west of Tenochtitlan this may not be of particular significance given that not all of the authors who refer to Cincalco were native to that city.

Returning directly to the issue of gender, the second and masculine part of the equation derives (rather obviously) from Centeotls commonly being addressed as male which is most likely an expression of maize as it is ripened by the sun, as mentioned earlier. This alliance with solar forces may be the point at which the earthly and feminine maize Goddess principle blends into the masculine, just as Centeotls identity overlaps with those of other significantly solar Deities, notably Xochipilli and Quetzalcoatl, albeit by occasionally convoluted means.

Quetzalcoatl qualifies as a solar Deity principally through his incarnation as Nanautzin, the God who leapt onto the fire and was transformed into the sun in Leyenda de los Soles (77;27), and also as Tlahuixcalpantecuhtli - the God of Venus as the morning star which heralds the arrival of daybreak. Of more direct relevance are Quetzalcoatls deeds as related earlier in the same narrative. Having decided to repopulate the earth after the death of the fourth sun, the Gods send Quetzalcoatl to the underworld to retrieve the bones of the previous race of humanity. Returning to Tamoanchan, he gives the bones to Cihuacoatl, who grinds them into powder. Once this is done, he bleeds his penis onto the bone meal and from this mixture the current race of humanity is born. Whilst this tale expressly states that people were created from blood and bone, it seems probable that the baking analogy (something made from liquid and a substance resembling flour) is quite deliberate. Both this notion and the story itself have a striking parallel in a passage from the Popol Vuh (Book III) of the Quich-Maya of Guatemala, not least because one of the chief protagonists is Gucamatz whose name is the Quich-Maya translation of Quetzalcoatl:

"So they began to grind yellow corn and white corn, and with this Xmucan made nine drinks, and this nourishment, by entering the bodies, created strength and vigour and gave men flesh and muscles.

This was what Tepeu and Gucamatz did, he who creates and he who gives life as they are called.

They immediately began to shape our first mother and first father. Only yellow corn and white corn were included in making their flesh and were the only ingredients of mans legs and arms. And these were our original parents, the four people who were created by this nourishment entering them to form flesh."

Furthermore, it is significant that both tales occur in mythic realms equated with an earthly paradise - Tamoanchan (Centeotls place of birth and a region of origination) in the Quetzalcoatl version, Paxil-Cayal in the Popol Vuh. Quetzalcoatl returns to this place once more in the section of Leyenda de los Soles (77;3) immediately following on from the creation of humanity. The concern of the Gods at this juncture is how the human race is to be given sustenance:

"Again, they said, "Gods, what will they eat? Let food be looked for."

Then the ant went and got a kernel of corn out of Tonacatepetl [Food Mountain], and Quetzalcoatl met the ant and said, "Where did you get it? Tell me,"

But it wont tell him. He insists. Then it says, "Over there," and it shows him the way.

Then Quetzalcoatl changed into a black ant.

It shows him the way, and he goes inside [the mountain]. Then they carry [the maize] out together.

The red ant, it seems, showed Quetzalcoatl the way.

Outside he lays down the kernels, then he carries them to Tamoanchan. Then the Gods chew them and put them on our lips.

And thats how we grew strong."

In summary then, Centeotl is born from within the earth, as is the human race, as is the maize which provides the human race with sustenance - and each birth is in one way or another catalysed by a union of solar and terrestrial archetypes: Piltzintecuhtli and Xochiquetzal, Quetzalcoatl and the underworld (or Cihuacoatl, an aspect of the earth Goddess), or Quetzalcoatl and the mountain of Tonacatepetl. Centeotl is both the maize itself and the process by which it is delivered to humanity, the process being the maturation of the crop and the religious observances intended to describe and promote said maturation. In other words, Centeotl is the supernatural agency by which humanity is fed, as is Quetzalcoatl in the story from Leyenda de los Soles. Furthermore, Centeotls role might be more clearly defined as the supernatural agency of all sustenance derived from agriculture, of which maize serves as an all inclusive representative. Histoire du Mechique explained that from the rest of his body came many other products which humans sow and harvest. Similarly, Leyenda de los Soles (77;24) goes on to describe how Nanautzin (who it will be recalled is an aspect of Quetzalcoatl) breaks open the mountain of Tonacatepetl and discovers yet more maize alongside beans, amaranth, and chia.

Henry Nicholson (1971, p417) proposes Centeotl as part of his Centeotl-Xochipilli complex*6, suggesting that the maize God is more than just a male Chicomecoatl, for he was merged with an important group of youthful solar-fertility Deities who, aside from generative power in the abstract - and sexual lust which promoted it - presided over flowers, feasting, painting, dancing, and gaming. The merit of this claim is immediately apparent from comparisons of these Gods as they are depicted in the codices. For example, a fairly typical representation of Centeotl is found in Codex Borgia (page 15, lower right) wherein he is shown with his characteristic maize cob head-dress and a jagged black line running down his cheek from hairline to eye to jaw. A similar facial marking serves to identify Xipe Totec (as can be seen in the same volume - page 15, upper centre) and is commonly seen upon Deities portrayed as being dressed in the skin of a flayed corpse. Xochipilli is likewise sometimes depicted in this manner, notably in a stone sculpture discovered by the historian Alfredo Chavero in the village of Tlamanalco. The theme of the man dressed in the flayed skin of a corpse is more or less exclusive to the cults of fertility Deities (notably those mentioned here and Toci as referred to earlier) and, at the most basic level represents life emerging from the earth - the earth in this case also standing for the womb or even death. In fact the symbolism here is rather hard to miss - the living body of the performer concealed within or else emerging from the skin of the dead and sacrificed. It therefore makes sense that both Xochipilli and Centeotl are often characterised by visual stigmata alluding to this idea. Both represent fertility and the related sexual impulse (recall Centeotl being the maturation of maize at the somewhat phallic stage) - the former as it pertains to the human and the floral, the latter purely to the agricultural.

It is significant that of all the songs collected in Fr. Bernardino de Sahagns Primeros Memoriales, those of both Xochipilli and Macuilxochitl feature Centeotl as an integral character of their respective narratives. A further link to the flower God complex is revealed in Hymn Sung at a Fast every Eight Years wherein it states that Cinteotl was born in Tamoanchan where the flowers lift their heads, and that Ce Xochitl is his name. Where Historia de los Mexicanos por sus Pinturas gives the year of Centeotls birth as 6-Acatl, the hymn goes one further in providing the day. Both Gods and their human subjects usually had two names in Nahua culture, a common name for everyday use and a calendrical name derived from their day of birth, usually serving as a hypothetical description of character or potential as divined by those who compiled the calendar. In addition to being Centeotls divinatory name, Ce Xochitl (meaning One Flower) therefore serves to define the maize God within the broader span of creation. The God Huehuecoyotl is shown as the presiding Deity of the Trecena Ce Xochitl in many of the sources*7 and in Codex Borbonicus he is seen accompanied by a character that is almost certainly either Macuilxochitl or Xochipilli. Persons born during the thirteen days of Ce Xochitl (and, one would assume, particularly on the day Ce Xochitl itself) were fated to be singers and doctors and weavers and important persons, as one author of Codex Telleriano-Remensis (folio 10v) stated. Other sources elaborate upon the prognostication, adding that such people would be prone to overindulgence and a withering of the reproductive organs - all of which relates directly to the theological function of Huehuecoyotl and the Gods of the Xochipilli complex. Centeotls creative impulse is therefore determined by his calendrical name and expressed as the generative. The Xochipilli complex is concerned in part with not only celebration and sexuality but also the terrible consequences of these pursuits taken to excess. However, these being details of human existence, they bear no direct relation to Centeotls entirely botanical fertility. Therefore, whilst he certainly shares much in common with the solar-pleasure Deities, he remains nonetheless apart from them in certain respects.

Unsurprisingly given his status as a provider of sustenance, Centeotl features heavily within the numerous Nahua calendar cycles. In the Tonalpohualli divinatory calendar he and the Goddess Mayahuel preside over the Trecena Ce Malinalli. As one of the cycle of thirteen Day Gods, he presides over the numerical element of every seventh day of the Trecena. Seven is a particularly appropriate number in this instance, it being associated with birth, origins, and maize (as is also expressed through the maize Goddess Chicomecoatl, whose name translates as Seven Serpent); and also with the butterfly Papalotl of the related Quecholli cycle of thirteen sacred birds and flying creatures. Additionally, he is also the fourth of the nine Youallitecuhtin, the cycle of nine Gods who preside in succession over different nights. This cycle of Deities may constitute a theological analogy to the nine lunar months of a childs gestation from conception to birth, and in this scheme of things, Centeotl would be responsible for fattening the flesh of the developing embryo, appropriately enough.

During the Xiuhpohualli solar year Centeotl was frequently the subject of annual ritual celebration, notably during the Veintena festivals of Tozoztontli, Xochimanaloya, Hueytozoztli, Ochpaniztli (as has already been mentioned), Teotleco, Atlcuaulo (to a lesser extent), and possibly also during Atamalcualiztli if the words of Hymn Sung at a Fast every Eight Years (that being the frequency of said event) are any indication.

As stated in the opening paragraph, and as will now be apparent, Centeotl is a God of no little significance. Whether coincidence or not, it is interesting to note that whilst his name derives from the stem of cin-tli (meaning dried ears of maize) it also contains the stem of cente-tl meaning one, a whole, or even the first, whilst the more archaic forms of inteutl and Tzinteotl suggest the stem of tzin-tli meaning (amongst other things*8) base or foundation. In his Treatise on the Heathen Superstitions and Customs That Today Live among the Indians Native to this New Spain of 1629, Ruiz de Alarcn refers to a God named Centeotl Icnopiltzintli (the epithet translates as Honoured Orphan Son) whom he seems to recognise as an uncharacteristically monotheistic indigenous reference to the Christian Deity. Whilst the degree of his misunderstanding remains open to debate, it seems a nonetheless fitting (if unintentional) acknowledgement of the immeasurable value of maize as the founding stone of Mesoamerican civilisation.

\1: This derives from the stem of tlazoh-tli meaning someone or something beloved, rare or precious and shouldnt be confused with tlahzol-li (for which Frances Karttunen gives the definition of trash) as it appears within the name of the Goddess Tlazolteotl.

\2: This excerpt from the Rosemary Joyce translation has been edited to omit a repetition of names absent in the original Nahuatl and serving mainly to clarify her own English rendering. For the record, the line Tonan, our mother has come is reduced to Our mother has come and Ce Xochitl, One Flower is his name becomes just Ce Xochitl is his name. Being as tonan is Nahuatl for our mother and Ce Xochitl equates to One Flower, it seemed that the repetition might confuse matters in this instance..

\3: The name of Tamoanchan, the mythic western paradise continues to elude conclusive translation, although Alfredo Lpez Austin (1994, p103) sets forth a convincing argument for Your Dwelling has Come to an End, as well as an authoritative refutation of claims that the true etymology of the name is to be found in either a Huastec or Mayan dialect. Codex Telleriano-Remensis (folio 19r) offers The House Where They Descended as the meaning of the name Tamoanchan which, given the function of the mythic region, squares well with the Nahua expression descend to earth meaning to be born.

\4: Despite the received wisdom of Tamoanchans purportedly western location, this claim is absent from native documents. Eduard Seler sets forth a good argument, but for a more recent overview of the subject one should refer to Alfredo Lpez-Austins Tamoanchan, Tlalocan: Places of Mist (1994).

\5: Chimalpahins Memorial Breve, Codex Chimalpopoca, and the Crnica X from which Fr. Diego Durn theoretically derived a substantial portion of his Historia de Las Indias de Nueva Espaa

\6: No argument set forth here should in any way be taken as a refutation of Henry Nicholsons elegant classification. In this instance I adopt an alternate model, subdividing his Centeotl-Xochipilli complex in order to facilitate a more specific focus on individual themes expressed within the group. As stated earlier, Nicholsons model constitutes an invaluable aid to the comprehension of Nahua Deities, but it should not be mistaken for doctrine. The discussion of Deities within a complex is very different to the discussion of elements in the periodic table.

\7: Including Codex Borgia (Page 64), Codex Ros (folio 16v), Codex Telleriano-Remensis (folio 10v), and Codex Borbonicus.

\8: Unfortunately it is impossible to resist pointing out that amongst the other definitions of tzin-tli are buttocks and anus, although the question of whether Anus God constitutes a legitimate translation of the name Centeotl is probably not worth raising.

It's still something of a work in progress, but I hope some of you may find it interesting. By the way, with regards to eating corn, I make an effort to eat quite a lot of it, but then admittedly I spend a lot of time pretending I'm not living in England. As a sobering aside, regarding what was eaten in England prior to the importation of South American vegetables and plants, I recently found out a lot of our 'English' vegetables were originally brought here by Romans. Makes me wonder what my ancestors did eat - bark? mud? grass?

Edited by Yaomitl - 14-Oct-2007 at 13:11
"For as long as the world shall endure, the honour and the glory of Mexico-Tenochtitlan must never be forgotten."
- Chimalpahin Quautlehuanitzin
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  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14-Oct-2007 at 15:42
Originally posted by jdalton

So what other crops are there that come from the Americas? You mentioned corn, beans, squash, potatoes, chocolate, chilies, tobacco, and I didn't know about vanilla or pineapples. There are also tomatoes, sunflowers (from the Mississippi), sugar beets (I think?), cotton (not unique to the Americas and not food, but it was domesticated), quinoa, peanuts, agave, sweet potatoes... what am I missing? 
There are many more. However, you are missing perhaps the most important for my chovinistic feelings LOLLOL: strawberry. Strawberry is an hybrid whose main contributor is the Chilean plant. By the way, vanilla is Mexican and pineapples come from Paraguay. There are other things that are less know, for example the Palm Syrup we consume in Chile.
Here it is a list I brought from wiki of some of the most important foods from the Americas:
  • Acorn - Used to make flour
  • Agarita berries
  • Amaranth
  • Amole - stalks
  • Aspen - inner bark and sap (both used as sweetner)
  • Avocado
  • Beans - Throughout the Americas
  • Bear grass - stalks
  • Blackberries
  • Blueberries
  • Box elder - inner bark (used as sweetner)
  • Cactus (various species) - fruits
  • Cassava - Primarily South America
  • Cattails - rootstocks
  • Century plant (a.k.a. mescal or agave) - crowns (tuberous base portion) and shoots
  • Chile peppers (including bell peppers)
  • Chokecherries
  • Cholla - fruits
  • Coca - South and Central America
  • Cranberries
  • Currants
  • Datil - fruit and flowers
  • Devil's claw
  • Dropseed grasses (various varieties) - seeds
  • Elderberries
  • Emory oak - acorns
  • Gooseberries
  • Hackberries
  • Hawthorne - fruit
  • Hickory - nuts
  • Hops
  • Horsemint
  • Juniper berries
  • Kiwacha
  • Lamb's-quarters - leaves
  • Locust - blossoms and pods
  • Maca
  • Maize - Throughout the Americas, probably domesticated in or near Mexico
  • Maple syrup
  • Mesquite - bean pods, flour/meal
  • Mint
  • Mulberries
  • Onions
  • Palmetto
  • Peanuts
  • Pecan - nuts
  • Pennyroyal
  • Pigweed - seeds
  • Pine (including western white pine and western yellow pine) - inner bark (used as sweetner) and nuts
  • Pineapples - South America
  • Pinyon - nuts
  • Potatos - North and South America
  • Prickly pears
  • Prairie turnips
  • Pumpkins
  • Purslane - leaves
  • Quinoa - South America, Central America, and Eastern North America
  • Ramps - Wild onion
  • Raspberries
  • Sage
  • Saguaro - fruits and seeds
  • Screwbean - fruit
  • Sedge - tubers
  • Shepherd's purse - leaves
  • Sotol - crowns
  • Spanish bayonet - fruit
  • Squash - Throughout the Americas
  • Strawberries
  • Sumac - berries
  • Sunflower - seeds
  • Sweet potato - South America
  • Tobacco
  • Tomato
  • Texas persimmons
  • Tule - rootstocks
  • Tumbleweed - seeds
  • Vanilla
  • Vetch - pods
  • White evening primrose - fruit
  • White walnuts
  • Wild celery
  • Wild cherries
  • Wild grapes - fruit
  • Wild honey
  • Wild onion
  • Wild pea - pods
  • Wild roses
  • Wood sorrel leaves
  • Yucca - blossoms, fruit, and stalks
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      Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-Oct-2007 at 02:46
    Let's continue with potatoe, a plant that originated in the Andes region. There is still a dispute if the plant appeared in Peru or in southern Chile in the region of Chiloe. In both regions the varieties of potatoes are amazing, from which the rest of the world has never heared. In any case, since thousands of years ago, potato was the basic food for the peoples and civilizations in the Andes, covering a large region that goes from Ecuador to Chile from the coast and inland to Bolivia and Argentina.
    Potato was a magic plant because it leave that region of the common hunger that strike people of other parts of the world in ancient times. It was also an important factor in stopping hunger in Europe after it was introduced there.
    Potatoes native of Chiloe, Chile:
    Peruvian potatoes:
    This is the history of potatoes.
    History of the Potato

    The potato crop belongs to a number of american crops like maize and bean that have been introduced to Europe and other continents in the last 5 centuries.

    There are more than 160 wild potato species, and most of them contain high levels of alcaloids. The first edible potatoes are considered to have been cultivated 4000 years ago in Peru. The south american Indians were in fact able to select alcaloid-free potato varieties, the results of which is still seen today.

    The first cultivated potato species were diploid (some of them are still cultivated in South America). The development of the modern varieties was related to the spontaneous occurence of tetraploid species that were superior in yield. Almost all current varieties are autotetraploid.

    The introduction of potatoes to Europe happened at two independant instances: around 1570 in Spain, and around 1590 in England. However, the large-scale cultivation of the crop began only in the beginning of the 19th century. Initially, the crop was used as a medicinal plant and grown by pharmacists, in Spain in particular. It was later introduced to other parts of Europe by merchants and kings, who encouraged the cultivation of this efficient plant to increase local agricultural production. The successful introduction of this new crop did not only require changes in the dietary habits of the people, but also a biological adaptation of the crop to a new climate. In fact, the potato plant being originally adapted to short day conditions of the tropical highlands, it would yield very little under the long summer days in Europe. Breeding over more than 150 years led to plants tolerating long day conditions. The modern breeding of potatoes began approximately in 1780, where crossings were performed between local varieties. At the beginning of the 19th century, the introduction of new potato germplasm, especially from Chile, contributed highly to the breeding of modern varieties. Towards the end of the last century, there was already a large array of breeding varieties available to the breeders. However, because of the need for new resistance genes against pests and diseases, the 20th century brought about the use of a large population of wild- and cultivated potato species from South America for backcrossings into European varieties. The potatoes of today in Europe are largely the result of the intensive breeding programs of the 19th century, but have benefitted greatly from the improvements in breeding techniques of the 20th century to improve traits like disease resistance, tolerance to environmental factors, etc. 

    See also and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada for the History Timeline of the Potato

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      Quote Styrbiorn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-Oct-2007 at 09:22
    Originally posted by pinguin

    There are many more. However, you are missing perhaps the most important for my chovinistic feelings LOLLOL: strawberry. Strawberry is an hybrid whose main contributor is the Chilean plant.


    Depends on what you mean with main contributor: modern strawberries are a cross between female Chilean strawberries and male North American - the breeding being done by Europeans Wink

    ---Anyway, potatoes are considered sacred here and saved the lives on many - and caused the population boom of the 19th century. Jonas Alstrmer (1685-1761) was one of the fathers of the Industrial Revolution in Sweden, creating factories and machinery all over the place, with his taxes singlehandedly turning the Swedish national budget from a net loss to a 4 million dollar (Swedish dollar, dunno what that is in modern value) revenue. He was also one of the six founders of the Swedish Academy - but he is only  remembered for introducing the potatoe to the Swedish farmers!
    A woman, Eva de la Gardie, became the first female to be chosen as a delegate of the mentioned Academy - because she invented a method to make hard liquor from potatoes.
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      Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-Oct-2007 at 15:22
    That strikes my chovinistic feeling... Anyways, at least the other part of modern strawberries also comes from the New World Big%20smile. I know that the Chilean native strawberry is very tasty and sweet and there are in many varieties. I don't know the reason why it had to be mixed
    This is the Fragaria chiloensis or wild Chilean strawberry:
    We also have a native chilean white variety of strawberry that some say it is better that the other. I am not sure though if the original plant that the Europeans picked was the white or the red. I have the feeling that the chilean plant was the white variety shown below. If so, it would make sense to hybridize with the Virginia's variety to produce the red strawberry that's known worldwide.
    Tell me more about Eva de la Gardie. Perhaps you can add her bio in the thread about "Drinks of the Americas" were we discussed Potato Vodka. I am assuming she developed some  kind of Potato Vodka, of course.
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      Quote Styrbiorn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-Oct-2007 at 15:54
    Originally posted by pinguin

    That strikes my chovinistic feeling... Anyways, at least the other part of modern strawberries also comes from the New World Big%20smile. I know that the Chilean native strawberry is very tasty and sweet and there are in many varieties. I don't know the reason why it had to be mixed

    Iirc the reason was a mistake: they only brought seeds of one gender or something like that. In any case I prefer the native Scandinavian wild strawberry, much tastier than the things that are grown. Would be nice to try your native berries as well though.

    Eva Ekeblad (born De la Gardie) was born in 1724. De la Gardie was a noble family descending from a French merchant's son who migrated to Sweden in the 16th century. Eva married a politician, Claes Claesson Ekeblad, in 1741. Not only did she had 8 children and ran the family estate, she was also an agronimist and scientist. In 1746 she sent a letter to the Swedish Academy of Sciences describing processes how to produce bread, powder, starch and vodka from potatoes. Two years later she was elected to be the first female member of the Academy, only 24 years old. She made other contributions as well, and died in 1786.

    It would take a few decades more before potatoes were commonly used though, but eventually it replaced the swede as the only vegetable eaten by the Swedes.
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      Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16-Oct-2007 at 02:11

    Actually the French that took the Chilean strawberries robbed the seeds without permission Wink.

    In any case, strawberries were a wild fruit, and were not modified by Amerindians with centuries of selections like happened to Maize and Potatoes.

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      Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16-Oct-2007 at 03:19
    In any case, this is the history about how the French "took" the Chilean strawberry from my country without asking permission.....
    G.M. Darrow, The Strawberry: History, Breeding and Physiology

    The Strawberry From Chile

    THE JOURNEY OF the Chilean strawberry, Fragaria chiloensis, from Chile to France in 1714 was the most important event in the history of the modern strawberry. The Chilean berry had one quality the European kinds lacked -- size. The large berries attracted the notice of a French spy who had crossed the pirate-menaced seas to Chile in the early 1700's on a mission for King Louis XIV. Along with his observations on fortresses, armies, guns and supply routes, governors and Indians, he included a description and drawing of the Chilean strawberry. A collector as well as an observer, he spent six months caring for the specimens he took with him on the return voyage to France. Through the initiative of this young man, the New World strawberry, already cultivated for many years by the Chilean Indians, was brought as a bride to France where her marriage to North American F. virginiana took place.

    ln the early 1700's wild F. chiloensis grew over much the same area of Chile as it does today. The roots bind the sand along the coast of middle and southern Chile and then the plant advances inland, where it climbs as high as 5,100 feet in the Cordillera and wanders as far eastward as the Argentine provinces of Neuquen, Chubut and Rio Negro. At the time of the Spanish conquest of Chile in the mid-1500's, the only Indians who lived in the country of wild F. chiloensis were the Mapuche in the north and the Huilliche further south. These two tribes were very probably the first to cultivate F. chiloensis, since both distinguished in their languages between the wildgrowing strawberry (llahuen, lahuene, or lahueni) and the cultivated one (quellghen), later called the frutillar by the Spaniards. At the time of the conquest another Indian group, the Araucanians, also grew strawberries along with maize, potatoes, pumpkins and beans, but they did not live in the area where F. chiloensis grew wild. For how many hundreds of years had the Mapuche and the Huilliche Indians cultivated F. chiloensis? Did this Indian culture of strawberries predate the European one, which seems to have commenced in the 1400's? No one knows, but when F. chiloensis was brought to France in 1714 it certainly had as long a history of cultivation as the European strawberry.

    Until 1550-1551 the Mapuche and Huilliche Indians cultivated their strawberries undisturbed. Then the Spanish conquistador, Pizzaro, who had been attempting to conquer Chile for fifteen years, appointed Pedro de Valdivia supreme commander of the Spanish troops in Cuzco, Peru. Under Pizzaro they were able to penetrate the region between Rio Itata and Rio Tolten where the Mapuche put up a stiff fight. The Spaniards won, and as keen appraisers of South American culture, they counted the strawberry among the spoils of conquest. Soon after, the Chilean strawberry arrived in Cuzco, then the home of Garcilazo de la Vega, the son of an Inca princess and a Spanish conquistador. In his study of Inca culture, Los Commentarios Reales de los Incas, he described the fruits cultivated by the Incas of his day. Although de la Vega left Peru in 1559, he included in his descriptions a fruit called the Chili, which he thought probably had come to Cuzco in 1557, six years after Valdivia's conquest. According to him, this pleasant-tasting fruit bore small seeds on its surface like the fruits of the Arbutus. Both fruits were of the same size, but that of the Chili was rather long and heart-shaped instead of round, and the plant grew on low bushes which crept along the ground. Botanists are certain that de la Vega was describing the strawberry. As he was unable to give the fruit a Peruvian name, he called it instead the "Chili," thus supporting the evidence that the species was F. chiloensis, the strawberry of the Mapuche and Huilliche Indians.

    In 1606 while in Spain, the sixty-eight-year-old de la Vega wrote his recollections of the Chilean strawberry as he first saw it in 1557 in Cuzco: "Another fruit which is called chili arrived at Cuzco in the year 1557. It is of excellent taste and very good to eat. It is borne on low plants, almost crawling on the ground; it has a berry like the arbutus, and is the same size but not round, longer, and shaped like a heart."1

    One of the first descriptions of the Chilean berries known to reach Europe was in the Historia Relation del Reyno de Chile, published in 1646 by the missionary Alonso de Ovalle, who wrote it during a trip to Rome. De Ovalle had lived in Chile until 1641. "Garden fruits are never, or only very rarely sold," he commented, "and anybody can go into a garden and eat as much as he likes without any restriction. Only strawberries, which are called Frutilla, are sold. Although I saw them growing wild for miles, they are very expensive when cultivated. Their taste and smell differ from those I saw in Rome. In size they are as large as pears and are mostly red, but in the territory of Concepcin there are also white and yellow ones."

    Another voyager, a Catholic priest named Louis Feuillee, provided a description of the Concepcin strawberry. "Physical and Mathematical Observations with Several Remarks on Natural History Made at Concepcin, January 1709," is the heading for Chapter 25 of his Journal in which the passage occurs. After noting the reversed order of the seasons south of the Equator, as compared with their sequence in the Northern Hemisphere, Pere Feuillee continued: "Several fruits, like pears, apples, strawberries, etc. were ripe. For dessert we were served some strawberries of a marvellous taste, whose size equalled that of our largest nuts. Their color is a pale white. They are prepared in the same manner as we fix them in Europe, and, although they have neither the color nor the taste of ours, they do not lack excellence."2 Feuillee had been sent out as King Louis XIV's official mathematician to explore and map the West Indies and South America. For two years he traveled the Chilean and Peruvian coasts, mapping cities, sketching panoramic views and collecting plants. But Pere Feuillee failed to include the "excellent" strawberry of Chile in the collection he brought back to Brest. Fortunately, the curiosity of Louis XIV about the New World and his concern over Spanish defenses on the Pacific coast of South America remained strong. Four months after Feuillee's return, the King dispatched another explorer on a remarkably similar mission, this time with orders to report on the Spanish fortifications. Unlike the priest who preceded him, who was a trained botanist, Amde Franois Frzier was an engineer, but he had the botanist's impulse for collecting. He was the only explorer known to bring specimens of F. chiloensis back to Europe, giving the Old World the large-fruited strawberries of the New.

    Lieutenant Colonel Frzier was a thirty-year-old member of the French Army Intelligence Corps when in 1711 he was commissioned to sail to the Spanish colonies of Chile and Peru on a reconnaissance mission. King Louis XIV of France had paid vast sums to maintain his grandson on the Spanish throne and was determined to get full information of even the least known parts of the Spanish West Indies before the French, as well as other nations, could be excluded from those seas by the Spaniards.3

    For this end, he pitched upon our Author, an experienced Engineer and Mathematician in his Service, whom he knew to be in every way qualified to make Hydrographical Observations for the Use of Mariners, and for the Correction of the Charts, and also to take exact Plans of the most considerable Ports and fortresses along the Coasts whither he was going; to direct to their best Anchorages, and to point out their respective Dangers; (Things which might hereafter be of great Use to the French, if a War should happen to break out again between the two Nations.) And this Gentleman he sent at his own Charge on board a Merchant-Ship, in the Year 1712, to pass as a Trader only, the better to insinuate himself with the Spanish Governors, and to have all opportunities of learning their Strength, and whatever else he went to be inform'd of.

    Thus read the 1717 English introduction to the book which Frzier had published the year before, entitled Relation of the Voyage to the South Sea, Along the Coast of Chile and Perou, Made During the Years 1712, 1713, and 1714. Other sources describe his assignment as the study of the defenses in Chile and Peru alone. Whatever its scope, this was a delicate mission for the young but well-qualified engineer.

    Frzier never referred to the fact in his writings, but his family name was an ancient one, which derived from the French word for the strawberry -- fraise. Perhaps he did not know the story of his ancestor, Julius de Berry, a citizen of Auvers who was knighted by the Emperor and King of France, Charles Simplex, in 916 for a gift of ripe strawberries. As the story goes, the Emperor Charles was returning home from Lyons where he and Cardinal Clemens de Monte Alto, Italy, had gone to settle a local dispute. The Emperor stopped at Auvers to prepare a sumptuous feast for the Cardinal. At the end of the entertainment Julius de Berry presented the Emperor with dishes of ripe strawberries. The Cardinal was greatly impressed, and, after seeing and tasting the berries, he declared that such fruit would certainly be a rarity in Italy. He marveled that such berries could be ripe in the early part of May. The Emperor was so pleased with Julius's timely offering that he knighted him and changed his surname from Berry to Fraise, a name which later became Frazer. The Emperor also gave the family three fraises or stalked strawberries for their coat of arms (Plate 4-1).4

    Several of the Frazers emigrated to Scotland in the mid-1000's as members of the company sent by King Henry I of France with his ambassador, Count Chatere, to honor the reign of King Malcolm III who had vanquished Macbeth. The Frazers fought well in King Malcolm's battle against the invading Danes and he honored them with grants of land. He gave the family a shield and coat of arms of azure with a triangular field topped by a crown. Within this triangle was their original crest of three fraises. Later, in the sixteenth century, one of the Frazers returned to France to escape political troubles in Scotland. He settled in the southeastern Savoy region, on the Swiss-Italian border and from this ancestor there descended Amedee Francois Frzier, who by name was certainly the appropriate man to introduce from Chile the mother of the modern strawberry, F. chiloensis.

    The father of Amedee Francois was a distinguished attorney of law at Chambery and he had wanted his son to follow him in the law. The son, however, showed an insurmountable aversion to law. The boy's precocious intelligence, exceptional aptitude for the sciences and his facility for foreign languages persuaded his father to send him to Paris to study at the center of the French academic world. For three years Frzier studied science with a strong complementary dose of theology. Under two famous teachers he wrote his first essay on a subject in which he became expert as an explorer some years later. It was entitled: "Treatise on Navigation and the Elements of Astronomy." His scientific studies completed, Frzier set off on a trip to Italy where he developed a taste for art. He took special notice of architecture and what he learned he later applied in his engineering of fortresses and defense structures.

    Around 1700 Frzier returned to France and accepted a lieutenantship in an infantry regiment. Meanwhile, he exploited the leisure of garrison life to publish a Treatise on Fireworks in 1706. Until then pyrotechnics had mainly military uses. Frzier was interested in the spectacular fireworks displays for ceremonies. In his book he provided a review of earlier studies and their instructions for the manufacture of decorative fireworks. The book became a text for fireworks makers. The attention it received won for Frzier a transfer to the military intelligence corps, as military engineer for Saint-Malo. At last he was able to work exclusively with science. Garangeau, Frzier's superior officer, praised his zeal and skill in several reports and it was on Garangeau's recommendation that Mr. Pelletier de Souzy, the minister of fortifications, suggested Frzier as the man to study the defense fortifications of Chile and Peru -- the mission from which Frzier would return to France with the Chilean strawberry.

    After several false starts and delays caused by storms, calms and the loss of an anchor, Frzier sailed on January 7, 1712, aboard the St. Joseph, an armed merchant ship. The company finally reached the open sea without the feared attacks from pirates. Pirating was a sport the French enjoyed themselves when conditions were favorable, for Frzier recorded: "During that time, we discovered a small ship, which we judged to be Portuguese from the island of Madera, but the sea ran too high and we had too much business of our own to go about taking prizes."5 After a long 160-day voyage round Cape Horn, Frzier arrived in Concepcin, Chile, on June 16, 1712.

    This was his base for more than a year and a half. He posed as a merchant captain so that he could visit the fortifications as a tourist. All the while he was studying them for Louis XIV, sketching maps which showed the best approaches for attack, where ammunition was stored and the routes of escape. He made friends with the Spanish officials who, had they known the true nature of his assignment, would have had his head. In his report Frzier was able to estimate the strength of the Spanish administration in each area he visited and he reviewed the organization of the government, its power over the Indians, and the unity and support that could be expected among the colonial governors. He noted that the Spaniards were just beginning to develop their gold and silver mines and he predicted these would become a source of great wealth to them. This part of his report was to be of such interest to the other European nations, that Frzier's book was translated immediately after its appearance in French, and within three years was available in English and other major European languages. In his excursions to the ports and capitals of Chile and Peru, the traveler also reported on the operations of the Church, the social organization and customs of the Indians, the physical geography of the area and its agricultural products. He remarked upon everything from earthquakes to the diversity of the seasons in the plains and in the Cordillera to the zoology of Peru. His book also contained several descriptions of new plants he had noticed. Among these was an exceptionally large-fruited strawberry plant which he found at Concepcin.

    The Indians called the site Penco, "pen" signifying "to find," and "co" meaning "water." Pedro de Valdivia, conqueror of Chile, changed the name to Concepcin after he had subdued the neighboring Indians and founded a city there. Concepcin is on the coast where a road by the same name leads to the beach. The strawberries of which Frzier wrote were cultivated in the rich soil around Concepcin (Fig. 4-1), soil which the officer described as "extraordinarily fertile, and so easy to till that they [the inhabitants] only scratch it with a plow."6 The Spaniards called the strawberry plant the "Frutillar" and its berries the "Frutilla," meaning "little fruit."

    There they plant whole Fields, with a Sort of Strawberry Rushes, differing from ours, in that the Leaves are rounder, thicker and more downy. The fruit is generally as big as a Walnut, and sometimes as a Hen's Egg, of a whitish Red, and somewhat less delicious of taste than our Wood Strawberries. I have given some Plants of them to Monsieur de Jussieu, for the King's Garden, where Care will be taken to bring them to bear. Besides these, there is plenty in the Woods of our European Kind. And in Short, all manner of Garden-Product among us, grow there plentifully, and almost without trouble.

    It was this description, quoted here from the 1717 English translation of Frzier's book, which was to fascinate European botanists and gardeners. Any plant that could produce strawberries as big as a walnut had great value and so, as samples of F. chiloensis passed back and forth, each recipient would take care to note his experience with the plant.

    Frzier accompanied his description with a somewhat stylized drawing (Fig. 4-2) of the "Fraise du Chile dessinee au grandeur naturelle," the Chilean strawberry drawn in its natural size, showing fruits, but no flowers, and which he described in Latin as "Fragaria Chiliensis, fructu maximo, foliis carnosis hirsutis, vulgo frutilla," Chile strawberry with big fruit and leathery hirsute leaves commonly known as Frutilla. Fifty years later Frzier discussed the cultivation of F. chiloensis at Concepcin in a letter he sent on November 18, 1765, to Antoine N. Duchesne who was writing a book on strawberries; 7

    They are found in the little valley plains where one can conduct a small stream to water them, as is done for the fields in several places in France, because it only rains in Chile during two months of the year, during three at most, in the wintertime, which corresponds to our summer, due to the situation of the southern temporal zone.... The berries are brought back in such abundance to the city of Concepcin and the vicinity that people sell them at the market like other fruits. For half a real, which is the lowest money, one gets one or two dozens, wrapped in a cabbage leaf.

    Frzier left Concepcin on February 19, 1714, and after stopping off at Brazil and the Azores he reached Marseilles on the 17th of August. With him he carried several of the strawberry plants to which he played nurse throughout the voyage. He described the return trip in the same letter to Duchesne: 8

    I returned in a merchant vessel from Marseilles, owned by the Bruny brothers, whereon they had placed as Supercargo, that is to say, entrusted with commerce, their nephew, M. Roux of Valbonne, who, after the captain, had the sole right to regulate the consumption of fresh water, which is very precious in a voyage of six months sailing .... through the torrid zone; so that if he had not taken it to heart to water these plants encased in a pot of soil, it would have been impossible for me to preserve them until our arrival at Marseilles, where there were five living ones, of which I had three and he two. I gave one of them on my arrival in Paris to my friend, M. Antoine Jussieu, to cultivate in the King's Garden, and one to M. Peletier of Souzy, our minister of fortifications. and kept the third for myself.

    On his return, Frzier was honored by a presentation to Louis XIV, who had him explain the maps he had drawn. The king then marked his satisfaction with the mission by awarding Frzier 1,000 cus from the royal treasury.

    Louis XIV died before Frzier's observations could be published so in 1716 the book was dedicated instead to the Duke of Orleans, the regent for young Louis XV. Frzier's Voyage to the South Sea was praised by such scientists and geographers as Halley, Reamur, and Robertson and in such publications as Scevari's Dictionary of Commerce, the Journal of Arevoux (the Jesuit critical literary publication) and in the Historical Atlas of Holland. Perhaps the greatest tribute was its translation into German, Dutch and English within three years after the original French edition.

    Meanwhile, Garangeau, Frzier's superior at Saint-Malo, again requested his services for defense construction. In 1719 Frzier was sent as Engineer-in-Chief to Santo Domingo on a two-year assignment to fortify the island. There malaria nearly killed him but he was too useful to his superiors to permit his return until nine years later when he was sent first to Philipsbourg and then to Landau, Germany, where he built twenty-six defense structures. This last assignment was the basis for a characteristically scholarly and precise work applying theories of architecture to practical engineering. Frzier married, was commissioned a captain, and in 1739 was named Director of Fortifications for the whole of Brittany. He finally retired from his sixty-four years of service at the age of eighty-two. At eighty-seven he was still writing on such diverse subjects as navigation and landing methods for the Lucayes Islands, the aesthetics of architecture, and on the purification of unhealthy water which could make even sea water drinkable. Even when his sight weakened, five years before his death in 1773, he made himself read at least six hours a day, especially books on travel and history.

    Activity had always characterized Frzier's life and even in his last years he lived at a pace one would associate with a far younger man. An example is his correspondence which was extensive and which included literary men as well as scientists. They consulted him with confidence and found him pleased to share his insights. Always one to insist upon precision, he scorned presumptuous ignorance. He disdained envy as well, calling it a great and humiliating weakness. His associates said he was as delighted with a discovery as the inventor himself. One biographer described him as the representative of the universal character of the enlightened eighteenth-century man .9 The Secretary of the Royal French Marine Academy, writing of Frzier in the flowery phrases of the era, said: "Amedee Francois Frzier has rendered his name dear to Letters, to Art and to Science, which he cultivated with success, to the Corps du Genie (Intelligence Corps), from which he acquired his fame, to the Marine Academy, of which he was the ornament for a long time, and to the Society of which he was the delight."10 This was the remarkable man who had the curiosity and initiative to transplant the first Frutillar from Chile to France.

    What did the plant from Chile look like? What characteristics would it communicate to its offspring, F. ananassa? Comparing it to the familiar European wood strawberry, botanists noticed that its brownish green leaves, though the same size as F. vesca, were much stouter, thicker and more stiff and leathery, with big teeth and with prominent veins on the very pale underside. The runners were also much bigger and at least triple the length of those of the wood strawberry. "It is not rare to see the nodes of these runners borne at 15 or 18 inches from the old plant," Duchesne wrote of the plant in 1766. The hardy pedicels were almost ligneous. Another obvious difference was the heavy pubescence of the Frutillar, which was covered with long, appressed, whitish hairs on the underside of the leaves and especially on the stems and sepals. These sepals were numerous and remained spread out flat on unfertilized flowers but closed again on fertilized ones once the petals fell.

    And then there were the few, but enormous, flowers: "One often sees that an cu of six francs cannot cover it," said Duchesne, describing the diameter as more than one and three-fifths inches." There were many petals, a single one equal in area to the entire flower of F. vesca. In cool sunny weather they gave off a strong perfume, which Dillenius also had noted in his Hortus Elthamensis: "Flores teneum Oxyacantha ordorem spirant." In the female flowers forty or fifty short stamens, instead of the usual twenty, pressed together in three or four mixed rows, and pointed in all directions around the young receptacle, itself the size of a small F. vesca fruit.

    The fruits were proportionate to the flower in size, although Frzier found them to be smaller in Europe than those he had seen in Chile. The ovaries, though quite a distance from each other, formed only shallow pits in the solid flesh of the berry; each ovary was three to four times bigger than those of F. vesca, and a deep, dull red in color. In ripening, the berry was red above but yellowish-white below, with a most pleasant odor. The berries were commonly elongated and angular, some rounded and a bit pointed.

    Another characteristic feature, and a remarkable one, was the strength of the pedicel. At the moment of ripeness, instead of hanging down with the weight of the fruit as in other strawberries, it bent upward so that the point of the berry faced toward the sun. The Frutillar began to flower in France at the time F. vesca bore its first ripe fruits and the berries were not mature until the end of June, a month later.

    What happened to Frzier's F. chiloensis plants upon his return to Mar seilles in August 1714? As he wrote Duchesne in 1765, he gave two of the five plants to Mr. Roux de Valbonne, the officer in charge of the water supply, who had kept the plants alive by watering them during the long sailing. Another specimen went to the head of the King's Garden at Paris, Antoine de Jussieu. Frzier kept one plant for himself, and the remaining one was given to his superior, M. Pelletier de Souzy, the minister of fortifications at Brest. Between 1714 and the publication of Duchesne's monograph on the strawberry in 1766, a large prosperous strawberry industry developed at Brest, supplied by fruits from F. chiloensis pollinated by other species. Perhaps the plant sent to M. Pelletier de Souzy in Brest started this culture. Or perhaps Frzier's own plant was the mother of that industry. After publication of his book in 1716, Frzier returned to Saint-Malo in Brittany, in command of the construction of fortifications upon the request of M. Garangeau, his former patron. Was it then that he delivered runners from his Frutillar to the local gardeners of Brest, exciting them with his claims of the marvelous properties of his new strawberry? Or did he survey the Brittany coast until he decided that the port of Brest would best simulate the coastal climate of Concepcin? He left for Santo Domingo in 1719, returned to France in 1726, and two years later he left for Germany where he remained until 1739, after which he returned to Brittany. Perhaps during one of these interludes the Chilean berry was introduced. In 1765, Frzier wrote Duchesne from Brest that "this city" and its vicinity are so well provided with strawberries that one finds them for sale at the market." 12 According to Duchesne, Frzier had himself cultivated the Frutillar after his return to France.

    The imported Chilean strawberries had a difficult time in Europe at first. They grew vigorously, but even at Brest produced none of the fruit "as large as a hen's egg" which had recommended it to Frzier. Indeed at first the plants produced no fruits at all. Unwittingly Frzier had selected female plants in Chile; at least the five which reached France were female. The botanists of the King's Garden at Paris, always eager to receive and exchange new plants, preserved several specimens of F. chiloensis in their herbaria and, according to Duchesne, these were all female. Antoine de Jussieu, head of the King's Garden, and true to the international spirit of eighteenth-century science, wasted no time in sending propagations of his plants abroad. In 1720, just six years after Frzier's return, the great Dutch botanist Boerhaave, published a description of F. chiloensis grown from runners sent to Leyden, Holland, from the King's Garden in Paris. He designated it as "Fragaria crassis rugosis soliis flore semine carens" and called it the "Chili strawberry, without blooms or fruits."13

    From Holland, Philip Miller introduced the plant to England. "I brought some of the plants from Holland, Anno 1727, which thrive and increase exceedingly, but as yet I have obtained no Fruit; the last Season, Anno 1729, they produced great Numbers of Flowers, which were larger than the Hautboy, Strawberry, in proportion to the Bulk of its Fruit; but I am in Hopes next Season to obtain some Fruit in Perfection: I observe they thrive best when they have only the Morning Sun, and do require frequent Waterings in dry Weather," wrote Miller in the 1731 edition of his Gardener's Dictionary. In the 1752 edition Miller was more exact about his source and explained that "in 1727 1 brought a parcel of the plants to England, which were communicated to me by Mr. George Clifford of Amsterdam, who had large beds of this Sort growing in his curious gardens at Hartecamp." Miller had given a specimen to Dillenius, assistant to James Sherard who owned one of most richly stocked gardens in the world at Eltham. Although the plant flowered in 1730, it was a female similar to Boerhaave's and bore no fruits. Thus Dillenius engraved a flowering specimen without fruits in the Hortus Elthamensis (1732), a descriptive catalogue of the plants in Sherard's garden ( Plate 4-2).

    All the botanical gardens were having the same difficulties: Frzier's female plants seldom produced fruits. Duchesne, in 1766, was to explain the trouble. Female plants had to be fertilized with the pollen of other strawberries and not all strawberries could pollinate F. chiloensis. Only strawberries with large fruits like F. moschata, F. virginiana and later, F. ananassa were successful. Meanwhile, no European before Duchesne seemed aware of the separation of sexes in strawberries. Philip Miller had cautioned in 1759 that if the gardener was careless and selected strawberry plants at random, the majority of the plants would become barren. "These are generally called blind, which is when there are plenty of smaller flowers but no fruit produced," he wrote, and described such flowers as well-supplied with stamens but lacking female parts with few if any styles and producing deformed fruit at best.

    It was Duchesne who taught that the male flowers Miller described were valuable as pollinators. Probably Frzier, anxious to select superior specimens to introduce to France, had collected those plants which bore the largest fruits among the cultivated Frutillars of Concepcin. These must have been females since males would produce no fruit.

    Eventually some F. chiloensis plants in Europe did bear. Although disappointed in his barren plants in London, Miller wrote in the same 1731 edition of the Dictionary that the plant "has produced Fruit several Years in the Royal Garden at Paris, where Monsieur Jussieu assured me, it was commonly as large as a small Apple." Two years later in his 1733 edition Miller could add: "and this season there has been Fruit in several Gardens near London," but for many years the English lacked the success and consequent appreciation for the Frutillar which the French showed. Successive editions of Miller's The Gardener's Dictionary are like the readings of a barometer measuring the rise and fall of England's affection for the Chile strawberry. The comments on F. chiloensis from the third edition of 1737 are an example:

    I brought some of the Plants from Holland Anno 1727, which thrive and increase exceedingly; but these bear very indifferently and the Fruit being less delicate than the Hautboys (F. moschata), few Persons care to propogate this Sort in England. These plants have been placed in the Sun, and cultivated with Care, but have never succeeded where they have been thus treated. I have observed that they succeeded best where they have been grown under the Shade of trees, in a loamy Soil, and little more Care taken of them than to keep them clear from Weeds.

    Three years later, in 1740, Miller observed that the Chile strawberry "is now but little esteemed in England, the Fruit being ill-tasted. This Kind has produced Fruit of Late Years in many Gardens; but in general the Fruit is not so large as those of the Globe-Hautboy Strawberry, and is of a very irregular Form."

    In 1737 the Chile strawberry appeared in a descriptive catalogue of Clifford's garden at Hartecamp in Holland. The author of the Hortus Cliffortianus was none other than Linnaeus, the famed naturalist of Sweden. Linnaeus had recently received his medical degree in Holland and had then been hired by the wealthy Amsterdam banker, George Clifford, as his physician and botanist. Linnaeus cited first Frzier and then Dillenius and Boerhaave in describing the Chile strawberry but he called it Fragaria chiloensis instead of Fragaria chiliensis as named by Frzier. Perhaps Linnaeus thought the plant came from the island of Chiloe off the coast of Concepcin, while Frzier had been careful to use chiliensis to designate the country itself.

    In 1736 Linnaeus was sent to England to meet Philip Miller to whom Clifford had sent F. chiloensis and to whom he was later to send an early specimen of the modern strawberry, F. ananassa. Miller had been brought to London by Sir Hans Sloane to head the new London Apothecaries' Garden at Chelsea. The garden gained a leading position among the great botanical collections under Miller's supervision. Miller's Dictionary was for a long time the standard dictionary of English gardening, and its fame soon went beyond England. After the first awkward meeting with Miller, a great cooperation developed between Linnaeus and Miller, and the latter finally championed the Linnaean system of classification. Miller gave Linnaeus numerous specimens of plants for Clifford's garden as well as dried specimens for the herbarium. The close contact among the botanists of this period and their eagerness to exchange specimens from their collections were responsible for the rapid dissemination of the Chilean strawberry in Europe. Linnaeus enters the story again later. (See Plate 4-3.)

    The French had much better luck than the English with F. chiloensis. The sharp-eyed gardeners of the Plougastel region of Brittany around Brest had observed that the Chile strawberry bore abundant fruit when F. moschata and F. virginiana were planted in between the rows of F. chiloensis. In a similar climate nearby at Cherbourg, M. des Nouettes-Grou wrote that he had been cultivating the Chile "with success by means of pollens from native berries which succeeded very well for me ... in 1758 and 1759." Two of his berries were 7 1/2 inches in circumference.14 The botanist Du Hamel observed in 1764 that "in the better tended plantings, half the strawberries were of an entirely different sort, which are called regionally "Barbary strawberries." These proved to be F. virginiana and F. moschata plants.

    The French found that F. chiloensis had a very determined preference for a marine climate and its cultivation remained confined to Plougastel. Attempts to cultivate it in Anjou, Touraine, and the lower-Loire areas failed. For more than a century, until about 1875, the Plougastel's harvest supplied the cities of Brittany and the English markets as well. After 1875 the popularity of F. chiloensis began to diminish as new, large-fruited varieties, of which it was the mother, replaced it. In 1887, Mme. Elisa Vilmorin 15 recorded that the strawberry fields planted to F. chiloensis still covered one hundred and eighty acres, while by 1900, of the three hundred acres devoted to strawberries in Plougastel, only fifty acres were planted to the Chilean strawberry.

    By the mid-1700's the strawberry from Chile was no longer simply a curiosity in the botanical collections of the wealthy and of the universities. It was beginning to be grown commercially around Brest, the only place in Europe where it succeeded. Its hybrids, which were accidental results of using F. virginiana as the pollinator for F. chiloensis (there is little evidence that the cross of F. chiloensis x F. moschata ever produced fertile plants), were more adaptable, and gardeners in England, Holland and France made careful selections for large-fruited varieties of F. ananassa, as the hybrid was called. This led to the gradual abandonment of its parent, F. chiloensis, except around Brest.

    As Captain Frzier was central to the story of the introduction of F. chiloensis, so Antoine Nicolas Duchesne is central to the story of its hybridization which followed, for Duchesne was both an active experimenter and a chronicler of this period. Yet without European curiosity in New World botany, Frzier's five plants of F. chiloensis would not have been propagated and distributed so early to so many growers. For several centuries, large fruited strawberries might have remained exclusive to the western coasts of the Americas.

    Edited by pinguin - 16-Oct-2007 at 03:19
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    Styrbiorn View Drop Down

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      Quote Styrbiorn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16-Oct-2007 at 09:22
    Interesting story, and funny that Linneus mixed up the names.

    Didn't see anything about stealing though - and who owns wild plants anyway?
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    pekau View Drop Down
    Atlantean Prophet

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      Quote pekau Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-Oct-2007 at 00:39
    Found traditional food posts! Abandon all hope, for McDonald is here!
    Join us.
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    Laine View Drop Down
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    Immortal Guard

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      Quote Laine Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-Oct-2007 at 04:57
    I love the diversity of foods that the numerous climates of the Americas have created. In Alaska the plant foods traditionally eaten by my people include but are not limited to.
    Wild Coastal Strawberry: It is a small strawberry probably 100 times sweeter than the cultivated variety. Though the modern day hybrid is indeed larger it has never been able to replicate the sweetness of it's wild relatives.
    Neigoon: Basically a raspberry relative that grows close the ground with a single blackberry like fruit growing from the plant. If you find a good patch there will be a field of these incredibly sweet and flavorful berries. If you've tried them then you would understand that raspberries can't compare.

    Waxxaan Neiglu: Also known as Salmonberry this is essentially a large,watery, yellow-dark orange raspberry. It's flavor depending on the individual bush can be better than raspberry or nearly flavorless.
    Neiku: Also known as cloudberry this fruit resembles neigoon however it is of golden color and has a flavor more reminiscent of apricot than a raspberry.
    Low bush blue berry: Very hard to pick but by far the best blue berry for the table it is very sweet and almost candy like.
    Laakusk: A sea vegetable related to the Japanese nori, it has an intense flavor that is superior to Nori.
    There are many other berries such as thimble berry, black currants, blue currants,red currants, et. These are not as flavorful as the above but are still used in some quanity.

    Edited by Laine - 17-Oct-2007 at 04:57
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      Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-Oct-2007 at 22:00
    Originally posted by Laine

    I love the diversity of foods that the numerous climates of the Americas have created. In Alaska the plant foods traditionally eaten by my people include but are not limited to.
    Wild Coastal Strawberry: It is a small strawberry probably 100 times sweeter than the cultivated variety. Though the modern day hybrid is indeed larger it has never been able to replicate the sweetness of it's wild relatives.
    Neigoon: Basically a raspberry relative that grows close the ground with a single blackberry like fruit growing from the plant. If you find a good patch there will be a field of these incredibly sweet and flavorful berries. If you've tried them then you would understand that raspberries can't compare.

    Waxxaan Neiglu: Also known as Salmonberry this is essentially a large,watery, yellow-dark orange raspberry. It's flavor depending on the individual bush can be better than raspberry or nearly flavorless.
    Neiku: Also known as cloudberry this fruit resembles neigoon however it is of golden color and has a flavor more reminiscent of apricot than a raspberry.
    Low bush blue berry: Very hard to pick but by far the best blue berry for the table it is very sweet and almost candy like.
    Laakusk: A sea vegetable related to the Japanese nori, it has an intense flavor that is superior to Nori.
    There are many other berries such as thimble berry, black currants, blue currants,red currants, et. These are not as flavorful as the above but are still used in some quanity.
    That's very interesting, indeed. It is amazing the variety of cherries that North America has, for instance. Besides, North America is the only region in the western hemisphere that has grapevines. You also have unique things like rootbeer, sunflowers, maple syrup and, of course, turkey.
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      Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19-Oct-2007 at 17:14

    What would be the world without tomatos?

    There is a funny thread about tomatoes somewhere else in this forum. That's fine, however this post is about the serious history of tomatoes... if it can be taken seriously, anyways.
    Tomatoes are some of the most consummed vegetables today. Could you imagine going to MacDonalds and eating without kepchut, or lettuche without tomatoes? Tomatoes is, indeed, one of the most produced vegetables at worldwide scale.
    An history of tomato

    History and distribution

    Early history

    A variety of heirloom tomatoes.
    According to Andrew F. Smith's The Tomato in America, the tomato probably originated in the highlands of the west coast of South America. Smith notes there is no evidence the tomato was cultivated or even eaten before the Spanish arrived. Other researchers, however, have pointed out that this is not conclusive, as many other fruits in continuous cultivation in Peru are not present in the very limited historical record. Much horticultural knowledge was lost after the arrival of Europeans.

    In any case, by some means the tomato migrated to Central America. Maya and other peoples in the region used the fruit in their cooking, and it was being cultivated in southern Mexico and probably other areas, by the 16th century. It is thought that the Pueblo people believed those who witnessed the ingestion of tomato seeds were blessed with powers of divination. The large, lumpy tomato, a mutation from a smoother, smaller fruit, originated and was encouraged in Central America. Smith states this variant is the direct ancestor of some modern cultivated tomatoes.

    Spanish distribution

    After the Spanish conquest of America, the Spanish distributed the tomato throughout their colonies in the Caribbean. They also brought it to the Philippines, from which point it moved to southeast Asia and then the entire Asian continent. The Spanish also brought the tomato to Europe. It grew easily in Mediterranean climates, and cultivation began in the 1540s. It was probably eaten shortly after it was introduced, though it was certainly being used as food by the early 1600s in Spain. The earliest discovered cookbook with tomato recipes was published in Naples in 1692, though the author had apparently obtained these recipes from Spanish sources.</br>

    Tomatoes in Italy

    Because the plant was clearly similar to its nightshade congeners, it was assumed for years to be poisonous in Italy, where it was grown as a decorative plant. Eventually, the peasant classes discovered that it could be eaten when more desirable food was scarce. This eventually developed into a whole cuisine of tomato dishes, as the wonders of the fruit became obvious. This development took several hundred years, with wide acceptance not happening until the 18th century.</br>

    Tomatoes in Britain

    Tomato plants in the garden
    Tomato seedling
    The tomato plant was not grown in England until the 1590s, according to Smith. One of the earliest cultivators was John Gerard, a barber-surgeon. Gerard's Herbal, published in 1597 and largely plagiarized from continental sources, is also one of the earliest discussions of the tomato in England. Gerard knew that the tomato was eaten in both Spain and Italy. Nonetheless, he believed that it was poisonous (tomato leaves and stems contain poisonous glycoalkaloids, but the fruit is safe). Gerard's views were influential, and the tomato was considered unfit for eating (though not necessarily poisonous) for many years in Britain and its North American colonies. By the mid-1700s, however, tomatoes were widely eaten in Britain; and before the end of that century, the Encyclopdia Britannica stated that the tomato was "in daily use" in soups, broths, and as a garnish. Tomatoes were originally known as "Love Apples", possibly based on a mistranslation of the Italian name pomo d'oro (golden apple) as pomo d'amore.

    North America

    The earliest reference to tomatoes in British North America is from 1710, when herbalist William Salmon reported seeing them in what is today South Carolina. They may have been introduced from the Caribbean. By the mid-18th century, they were cultivated on some Carolina plantations, and probably in other parts of the South as well. It is possible that some people continued to think tomatoes were poisonous at this time; and in general, they were grown more as ornamental plants than as food. Cultured people like Thomas Jefferson, who ate tomatoes in Paris and sent some seeds home, knew the tomato was edible, but many of the less well-educated did not.</br>

    Tomatoes in France

    The tomato was introduced to France through Provence from Italy during the late 18th century and became a culinary symbol of the French Revolution due to its red color. They are widely eaten in French cuisine.

    France is home to the 'Carolina', a rare, indeterminate, open-pollinated cultivar of tomato which possesses the tanginess of 'Brandywine' and the stature and externalities of the Early Swedish, that is, IPB. First noted by Italian monk Giacomo Tiramisunelli and his companion Andrea di Milininese somewhere near Bordeaux, more modern researches such as Dragos Niculae et al. and Nicolas Dela Nisan claim Belgium as the birthplace of the cultivar. Either way, the 'Carolina' is considered a rare delicacy amongst tomato-connoisseurs throughout France and beyond; it is the only cultivar of tomato traditionally served with Ortolan (fig-fed songbird). Claims that a San Diego-based U.S. biotech company is trying to genetically modify 'Carolina' to extend its potential geographic growth range has set off a minor furor in Bordeaux, with the president of a Belgian agro-commune, Victor DePlata, threatening extreme action [citation needed].

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      Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Oct-2007 at 03:58
    Worldwide tomato production is a little bit more than 35 million tons of tomatoes per year, or 12 pounds (10 kg.)  per person on planet earth per year....
    Mexico is the leader exporter of tomatoes, something that makes sense because tomatoes come from there...
    Amazing? well here goes the detail:
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      Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-Oct-2007 at 05:24
    When Cortes conquered Mexico one of the most fascinating things he discovered was chocolate. Well, sometimes I think Greek, Roman or Tang food could have been pretty boring without the flavours of the Americas, and particularly without chocolate, perhaps the favorite sweet food of all.
    The history of chocolate follows. Comments are welcome
    Part of the history of chocolate (that related to the Americas) follows
    The rest could be seen on the following link:

    Chocolate History Time Line

    PictureFor over 3000 years, Chocolatelike gold, has had a universal appeal

    2000 BC, Amazon: Cocoa, from which chocolate is created, is said to have originated in the Amazon at least 4,000 years ago.

    Sixth Century AD: Chocolate, derived from the seed of the cocoa tree, was used by the Maya Culture, as early as the Sixth Century AD. Maya called the cocoa tree cacahuaquchtl "tree," and the word chocolate comes from the Maya word xocoatl which means bitter water.

    300 AD, Maya Culture: To the Mayas, cocoa pods symbolized life and fertility... nothing could be more important! Stones from their palaces and temples revealed many carved pictures of cocoa pods.

    600 AD, Maya Culture: Moving from Central America to the northern portions of South America, the Mayan territory stretched from the Yucatn Peninsula to the Pacific Coast of Guatemala. In the Yucatn, the Mayas cultivated the earliest know cocoa plantations. The cocoa pod was often represented in religious rituals, and the texts their literature refer to cocoa as the gods food

    Chocolate has impacted the ways in which some humans worshiped, and expressed their values

    1200, Aztec Culture: The Aztecs attributed the creation of the cocoa plant to their god Quetzalcoatl who, descended from heaven on a beam of a morning star carrying a cocoa tree stolen from paradise. In both the Mayan and Aztec cultures cocoa was the basis for a thick, cold, unsweetened drink called xocoatl believed to be a health elixir. Since sugar was unknown to the Aztecs, different spices were used to add flavor, even hot chili peppers and corn meal were used!

    Aztecs believed that wisdom and power came from eating the fruit of the cocoa tree, and also that it had nourishing, fortifying, and even aphrodisiac qualities. The Aztec emperor, Montezuma drank thick chocolate dyed red. The drink was so prestigious that it was served in golden goblets that were thrown away after only one use. He liked it so much that he was purported to drink 50 goblets every day!

    The cocoa beans were used for currency records show that 400 cocoa beans equaled one Zontli, while 8000 beans equaled one Xiquipilli. When the Aztecs conquered tribes, they demanded their payment in cocoa! By subjugating the Chimimeken and the Mayas, the Aztecs strengthened their supremacy in Mexico. Records dating from 1200 show details of cocoa deliveries, imposed on all conquered tribes.

    1492, Columbus Returns in Triumph From America: King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella were presented with many strange and wonderful things the few dark brown beans that looked like almonds didnt get a lot of attention.

    1502, Columbus landed in Nicaragua: On his fourth voyage to America, Columbus landed in what is now called Nicaragua. He was the first European to discover cocoa beans being used as currency, and to make a drink, as in the Aztec culture. Columbus, who was still searching for the route to India, still did not see the potential cocoa market that had fallen into his lap.

    1513, A Slave is Bought for Beans: Hernando de Oviedo y Valdez, who went to America in 1513 as a member of Pedrarias Avila's expedition, reports that he bought a slave for 100 cocoa beans. According to Hernando de Oviedo y Valdez 10 cocoa beans bought the services of a prostitute, and 4 cocoa beans got you a rabbit for dinner.

    At this time, the name of the drink changed to Chocolatl from the Mayan word xocoatl [chocolate] and the Aztec word for water, or warm liquid.

    1519, Hernando Cortez Begin a Plantation: Hernando Cortez, who conquered part of Mexico in 1519, had a vision of converting these beans to golden doubloons. While he was fascinated with Aztec's bitter, spicy beverage [he didnt like the cocoa drink], he was much intrigued by the beans value as currency. Later, Cortez established a cocoa plantation in the name of Spain henceforth, "money" will be cultivated! It was the birth of what was to be a very profitable business.

    Chocolate affected many cultures
    and traditions, and even

    International economics!

    1528, Chocolate Arrives in Spain: Corts presented the Spainish King, Charles V with cocoa beans from the New World and the necessary tools for its preparation. And no doubt Corts taught him how to make Chocolatl.

    Cortez Inspires a Major Breakthough: Cortez postulated that if this bitter beverage were blended with sugar, it could become quite a delicacy. The Spaniards mixed the beans with sugar, vanilla, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, and cinnamon. The results were tantalizing, coveted, fashionable, and reserved or the Spanish nobility which created a demand for the fruits of his Spanish plantations. Chocolate was a secret that Spain managed to keep from the rest of the world for almost 100 years!

    It is no secret that Chocolate has enjoyed a reputation as an aphrodisiac ever since Conquistadores first became aware of the "pagan" ways of the Aztecs [who regarded chocolate as a medicine, but probably not as an aphrodisiac.]

    1544, Dominican Friars Get into the Swing: Dominican friars bring a delegation of Mayans to meet Philip. Spanish monks, who had been consigned to process the cocoa beans, finally let the secret out. It did not take long before chocolate was acclaimed throughout Europe as a delicious, health-giving food.

    The beans were still used as currency. Two hundred beans bought a turkey cock. One hundred beans was the daily wage of porter, and would buy a hen turkey or a rabbit (the price has really escalated in 30 years! Three beans could be traded for a turkey egg, a new avocado, or a fish wrapped in maize husks. One bean bought a ripe avocado, tomato, or a tamale.

    1569, The Roman Church Takes a Serious Look at Chocolate: Pope Pius V, who did not like chocolate, declared that drinking chocolate on Friday did not break The Fast.

    1579, English Buccaneers Burn Currency: After taking a Spanish ship loaded with cocoa beans, English Buccaneers set it on fire thinking the beans were sheep dung.

    1585, Chocolate Goes to Market: The first shipment of beans intended for the market makes it to Spain.

    1587, Another Ship Goes Down: When the British captured a Spanish vessel loaded with cocoa beans, the cargo was destroyed as useless.

    1609, Chocolate is Lauded in Literature: The first book devoted entirely to chocolate, "Libro en el cual se trata del chocolate," came from Mexico.

    1615, Chocolate Comes With the Dowery: Ann of Austria, daughter of Philip II from Spain, introduced the beverage to her new husband, Louis the XIII, and his French court, too.

    1625, Cocoa Beans are Currency in Spain too: 200 small cocoa beans were valued at 1 Spanish real, or 4 cents.

    1643, The French Court Embraces Chocolate: When the Spanish Princess Maria Theresa was betrothed to Louis XIV of France, she gave her fianc an engagement gift of chocolate, packaged in an elegantly ornate chest.

    Chocolate was extremely popular with Louis XIV and the members of his Court at Versailles. Louis XIV, The Sun King, reigned for over 74 years [1643 to 1715] and is considered to be one of the greatest absolute monarchs. His foresight lead him to appoint Sieur David illou to manufacture and sell chocolate, which not only created a new income stream, but also it is said to have inspired erotic pleasures. It was well known that in Louis 72nd year he was making love to his wife twice a day Chocolate?

    Chocolate Mania in Paris: The chocolate craze which now included candy took hold in Paris and then conquered the rest of France.

    Chocolates reputation as an aphrodisiac flourished in the French courts. Art and literature was thick with erotic imagery inspired by chocolate. And the Marquis de Sade, became proficient in using chocolate to disguise poisons! Casanova was reputed for using chocolate with champagne to seduce the ladies.

    Madame de Pompadour was advised to use chocolate with ambergris to stimulate her desire for Louis XV but to no avail. Madame du Barry, reputed to be nymphomaniacal, encouraged her lovers to drink chocolate in order to keep up with her.

    1657, Even London Succumbs: London's first chocolate shop is opened by a Frenchman. London Chocolate Houses became the trendy meeting places where the elite London society savored their new luxury. The first chocolate house opened in London advertising "this excellent West India drink."

    1662, Rome Takes Another Look: As chocolate became exceptionally fashionable,The Church of Rome took a second look at this bewitching beverage. The judgment: "Liquidum non frangit jejunum," reiterated that a chocolate drink did not break the fast. But eating chocolate confections didnt pass muster, until Easter. Is this where the Easter Bunny makes an entrance?

    1670, One Man Takes a Stand: Helmsman Pedro Bravo do los Camerinos decides that he has had enough of Christian voyages of exploration and settles in the Philippines, where he spends the rest of his life planting cocoa, thus laying the foundations for one of the great plantations of that time.

    1671, All Troubles Have a Silver Lining: Sometimes people just dont see itthis time creativity prevailed! As the story goes, a bowlful of almonds is dropped, and the angry chef tries to "box the ears" of his kitchen boy but instead he spills a pan full of hot, burnt sugar over the almonds. Meanwhile the renowned gourmet, Duke of Plesslis-Praslin, is waiting for his dessert!

    His personal chef turns anger in to creative energy, and serves the Duke almonds coated of cooled burnt sugar. The Duke is not only delighted he is also inspired to give his name to this nouveau sweet. Today we call this confection "praline," but there is no doubt of the origin!

    1674, A Trendy Coffee House Takes Chocolate To New Horizons: An Avant Guard, London Coffee House called At the Coffee Mill and Tobacco Roll, goes down in the annals of history for serving chocolate in cakes, and also in rolls in the Spanish style.

    1677, Brazil Gets into The Market: By Royal Decree, November 1, 1677, Brazil [later to achieve an important position in the world market] establishes its first cocoa plantations in the State of Par .

    1697, The mayor of Zurich, visits Brussels: Heinrich Escher, mayor of Zurich, drinks chocolate in Brussels and introduces the awe-inspiring concoction to his friends at home nothing he has ever tasted is even slightly like this brew!

    1704, The Germans Impose a Tax on Chocolate: Chocolate makes its appearance in Ger many, and Frederick I of Prussia reacts by imposing a tax. Anyone wishing to pay homage to its pleasures has to pay two thalers for a permit.

    1711, Chocolate Migrates to Vienna: Emperor Charles VI transfers his court from Madrid to Vienna and along with his Court, comes chocolate.

    1720, Coffee Houses Propagate Trendy Chocolate: Italian Chocolatiers from Florence and Venus, now well versed in the art of making chocolate, are welcomed to France, Germany and Switzerland.

    1730, Hand Methods of Manufacture Gave Way to Mass Production: The transition was hastened by the advent of a perfected steam engine, which mechanized the cocoa grinding process. By 1730, chocolate had dropped in price from three dollars or more per pound to within financial reach of all.

    1747, Frederick III of Prussia forbids hawking: Especially the hawking of chocolate! In fact, Frederick prohibited chocolate in his realm. In where Chocolate flourished, Its high price ensured that only the wealthy could indulge.

    1755, America Discovers Chocolate: Diligently forging the concept of Democracy, Americans take time out to discovers Chocolate.

    1765, First Chocolate Factory In the USA: The production of chocolate proceeded at a faster pace than anywhere else in the world. It was in pre-Revolutionary New England.

    1780, Spain Was First: The first machine-made chocolate is produced in Barcelona.

    1792, A Factory Opens in Berlin: In Germany, the Josty brothers from Grisons open a confectioner's shop and make a hit selling Swiss Chocolate and they open a chocolate factory in Berlin.

    1797, Dont Leave Home Without Chocolate: As Johann Wolfgang von Goethe tours Switzerland, he insists on having Chocolate available at all times and a chocolate pot.

    1800, Chocolate is an Industry: Antoine Brutus Menier built the first industrial manufacturing facility for chocolate.


    Edited by pinguin - 21-Oct-2007 at 05:25
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