By Helena Rodriguez: Freedom Newspapers
Putting our hard-earned tax dollars where their mouths are, researchers have discovered that chile peppers date back to ancient times and even taco chips are at least 6,100 years old.
Now I’m not talking about the taco chips at Wal-Mart. According to these sizzling new findings, which were published in a study in the Science journal and reported in the Washington Post, inhabitants of the New World liked their dishes hot and spicy just like we do. In fact, they had reportedly begun developing a secret recipe for Doritos. This research is based on intensive examinations of bowl scrapings of people who lived throughout Central America and the Amazon basin.
These important, potentially world-changing findings are also based on the discovery of mounds of prehistoric Taco Bell Styrofoam cups and little plastic salsa packets that were never recycled. Evidence also shows that after Columbus landed in the New World in 1492, but before Cabeza de Vaca got lost in 1536 and stumbled into our Land of Enchantment in search of the Cities of Gold Casino, a tribunal council that would someday form into the New Mexico Legislature was already debating whether these ancient chile peppers should be called fruits or vegetables.
In addition, the indigenous people of what would someday become Nuevo Mejico were constantly baffled by that unavoidable question, which would inevitably come up at all of their great feasts, “Red or green?”
Of course I’m joking about some of the so-called findings above, although it could have happened that way. But this next part is no joke. Upcoming questions in this research study, which was written by 15 authors and conducted by the Smithsonian Institution, include: “Did they have salsa?” and “When did they get beer?”
Aaahh! Our tax dollars at work!
These historic findings mean the chile pepper is the oldest spice in use in the Americas and make the chile pepper one of the oldest in the world, providing further evidence of a possible prehistoric, world wide
Mexican fast-food chain. Researchers also believe that further study may show the fiery pod was used 1,000 years earlier than their current oldest specimen. Perhaps this specimen was taken from the cave of a prehistoric bachelor who never cleaned out his fridge.
In addition, in all seven New World sites where chile pepper residues were found, researchers also detected remnants of corn. This could be the missing link to prove that Fritos Scoops are not the innovative corn chip of modern culinary technology that they would have us believe. Rather they could be proven to be a lost ancient delicacy that was only revived if this research does, in fact, show that prehistoric men were already mixing their corn and chile at prehistoric Super Bowl and Cinco de Mayo parties.
As for the beer part, the Washington Post reports that David John Goldstein, an anthropologist at Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago, has said the New World’s oldest dedicated brewery is at a 2,600-year-old site in southern Peru.
Incidentally, this is also near the site of hieroglyphics discovered in caves, which depict a possible ancient form of a Hooters restaurant and bar. This just may be the missing link to prove that ancient men had discovered how to turn their chile peppers into salsa and then enjoy the spicy sauce with chips and a nice big cold one.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist or a million dollars of tax money to figure that out!
Helena Rodriguez is a columnist for Freedom Newspapers of New Mexico. She can be reached at: