Columbian Exchange Benefits

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With exploration well under way, the Old World was pining to discover new commodities. In 1492, Christopher Columbus set sail west in hopes of finding Asia. What he discovered however opened a major trade exchange between the New and Old worlds. The Columbian Exchange helped to establish trade routes between multiple civilizations as well as shape modern global cuisines. The initial motivation for exploration came from the Portuguese and their desire to sail south along the coast of Africa. Henry the Navigator and his crew were embarked on voyages to import African gold, ivory, and slaves. Sailing onward, the Portuguese found their way to India sparking their lust for exotic spices. In the late 15th century Christopher Columbus set…show more content…
Stemming from Mexico, the chili pepper is now one of the key staples in both Chinese and Italian cuisines. The functionality of the chili pepper came from their ability to grow from seeds in most warm climates; and once transplanted there was little need for import. In addition to their flavor, chili peppers provide a variety of health benefits. For example, chili peppers aid in digestion, are rich in vitamins, and can stimulate the metabolism (Columbian Exchange). Traditional Mexican dishes such as chile relleno and chiles en nogada use peppers for stuffing, where as mole poblano uses dried chilies to flavor a thick sauce. Once chili peppers arrived east, their popularity grew as they were a cheaper alternative to black pepper. Coarsely ground chilies are added to sauces like arrabbiata for heat in Italian cuisine. In China, the regional cuisines of Sichuan, Guizhou, and Hunan have slight variations in the chilies they use and how they are prepared. The Sichuanese crave a numbing spiciness which they refer to as “ma la” and is derived from a combination of chilies and Sichuan peppercorns. Hunan cuisine tends to prefer pickled chilies for a hot and sour flavor (Song of Spice). However prepared, chilies are used in most Chinese dishes from soups and marinades to stir-fries and
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