Chile Peppers

Here we are assembling materials for an ethnobotanical study of chile peppers (chilli, in Nahuatl) — the science and the cultural value over time.

  • Chiles are part of the larger Mesoamerican diet.  Here’s an interesting collection of quotes about Mesoamerican foods, “Food Timeline FAQs: Aztec, Maya, & Inca foods and recipes” assembled by Lynne Oliver in 2000.  Much more information has become available since that time, of course, but she still provides useful tidbits.
  • The Museum of Natural History in Santa Barbara, California, offers a free web publication about “The Natural History of Chile Peppers,” including a section on “indigenous uses.”
  • Here’s a reference to an article about the medical uses of peppers by the Mayas.
  • Wikipedia has a page on chile peppers, one on Aztec cuisine and one on Maya cuisine that include discussions of peppers.
  • Not to ignore the Zapotecs of Oaxaca, here’s a reference to an article on pre-Columbian use of chiles in the Valley of Oaxaca.  This study looks at remains found in the Guilá Naquitz Cave that we will pass by on our way to Mitla.
  • Here’s a wonderful study of Zapotec natural history; we have a copy in our mobile library that you can borrow.  It includes a CD with lots of additional images and some audio from the community under study.
  • Here’s a recipe for “Aztec Hot Chocolate,” from Better Homes and Gardens that includes chiles.