The Great Motivator - Peppercorns
It has been said that Helen of Troy was so
beautiful that she launched a thousand ships but her affect on history pales in comparison to the lowly peppercorn.
To fully understand why men (and women) down through the ages have so valued peppercorns is not something that
anyone can express with words. I can tell you the simple facts that peppercorns have been in use since prehistoric
times and every generation of man have eagerly sought after them but to truly appreciate why, you just have to do
this. Throw together some olive oil, cracked pink or black peppercorns, garlic, salt and herbs. Rub
this mixture on a couple of sirloins and let it marinate for a while. Then grill to your liking, sit down and
devour! The exact recipe is on the web site listed below.
If you have never enjoyed a peppercorn steak
you are truly missing out on one of the joys of life. In fact, there are a whole host of recipes for
peppercorn chicken, peppercorn pork and a variety of others that you simply must put on your bucket list. When you
have experienced these joys you can now count yourself among many historic figures and events.
Black peppercorns have been found in some of
the most ancient caves of the Neanderthal and Cro Magnon humans. They were found in the sarcophagus of Ramesses II.
Peppercorns were known and enjoyed by the Greeks as early as the 4th Century BCE. The trade routes of the time were
so difficult that the pleasures of peppercorns were probably enjoyed only by the rich. However, by the time of the
Roman Empire and particularly the conquest of Egypt regular trade routes to and from the Malabar Coast of India
brought the pleasures of peppercorns to the masses of Rome. While these trips took a year to complete
and possessed a level of difficulty unheard of today the people of Rome were more
than willing to pay a steep price to enjoy this unique spice.
After the fall of Rome trade battles erupted
between the Arabs and the Europeans for control of the trade and by the end of the dark ages the land routes of the
spice trade were firmly under Islamic control. However, once the spice was into the Mediterranean the great
maritime powers of Italy most particular Venice and Genoa, commanded the lion share of the trade and from this
trade their great city states evolved.
The exorbinant prices charged by the Italians
to the rest of the Western Europe for the enjoyment of this wonderful delicacy was the primary factor that
motivated men such as Vasco Da Gama and Columbus. Da Gama as history teaches us was the first to sail around the
horn of Africa in search of a sea route to India with the primary goal of searching for "Christians and Spices" as
his representative stated when ask why they had come to India. Columbus, of course, decided to go west in his
search for a sea route to the land of spices and the rest is the history we all know.
Helen was indeed probably a beautiful woman and
many have fought battles and died for beautiful women but not even female beauty has motivated the mind of the
human race and so changed the course of human history like that of the King of Spices, the peppercorn. Think about
that the next time you sink your teeth into a juicy peppercorn steak!
Wikipedia's page on Peppercorns