Lifescapes Gallery

16 / Sep / 2009
A spouse is nice, but some spice is better
Pepper, Coorg Photograph: Salim Pushpanath Story: Rajesh Ramaswamy

A spouse is nice, but some spice is better

If the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, the way to his stomach has, for millennia, been a closely guarded secret. Throughout history, men and women who’ve sought to put the spice back in their lives, have depended on one rare ingredient. Pepper, that pungent and precious berry from the treasure chests of the Malabar Coast in South India, the keys to which were held by a select, parsimonious few. A staple of Indian households and apothecaries for over four thousand years, pepper has been long coveted by every other civilization. One of the earliest markets was the Roman Empire whose appetite for the additive was addictive. An unfortunate consequence of hoarding such treasure was periodical visits by the Visigoths and Huns who besieged Rome and demanded pepper as ransom. The less martially inclined, however, simply imported the stuff from the Italian city states, and soon the spicy aroma invaded the banquet halls of Europe’s swish set. This insatiable demand only enriched the coffers of the Arabs who held the monopoly to the sea routes, and the Venetians and Genoese who dominated trade in the continent. Driven by public opinion (and depleted exchequers), several European nations set off on voyages to find alternative routes to the spice coast of India. The humble peppercorn thus became responsible, in some measure, for the discovery of America. And of other colonies and nations that sprung up as by-products of a civilizational charge to find access to the precious ‘Black Gold’. So the next time your spouse tells you to pass the pepper, you can tell him he can have the spice…but only if he’s nice.

We at Orange County have loved sharing this story with you, and shall bring you one every fortnight, as part of our Responsible Tourism Initiatives to raise awareness about the nature and culture of the environments we operate in.

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, September 16th, 2009 at 10:00 am and is filed under Plantation . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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User Comments
  1. Sangeetha.S says:

    Spices of life as short stories brings back memories of relaxing jolly days spent at Orange county.Great pic!

  2. S. Devanand says:

    Wow! Feels like one has just taken a leisurely stroll down the cobbled streets and alleys of ancient civilisations. A very informative, interesting, spicy read. Burp!

  3. sunil naik says:

    Also, recently Egyptologist found a great treasure in the temples there, and the treasure was 3 large pots filled with Pepper and stored in a secret place inside the temple. This was a great find for archaeologist, historians to discover that Roman merchants already were trading spices with countries like India.

  4. Sameer R Rao says:

    This is a very beautiful photo.

  5. Dr.Satish Sharma says:

    I got the lifescapes link forwarded to me by a friend.
    I am already in love.
    I think starting with the Emerald Dove onwards, the photos are captivating. And the conversational way of writing descriptions is mind blowing.
    Just thought that the last issue alone was not upto the mark. The writing was definitely brilliant and had a lot of nuggets but somehow didnt make me laugh the way the others did. Importantly, the image was a let down. It was nice and clean, but somehow didn’t stop me in my tracks like the others. My suggestion to the editor is to show some consistency in the issues. Otherwise the entire concept is brilliant. kudos!

  6. krishnan says:

    Great picture, wonderful, witty write up. Would be great if you could work on a layout a bit.

  7. DR S R Jayaprakash says:

    I never knew I would become a compulsive reader of poetry. Thank u O C.

  8. Jose Ramapuram, Director - Marketing, Orange County Resorts says:

    In keeping with our ‘Slice of Life’ philosophy, for the first time, we have featured a culture photograph on Lifescapes. On our contact programme with photographers, we found that culture photographers were difficult to come by. There are obviously more lovers of local nature than culture :).

    Through Lifescapes, we hope to kindle your spirit of interest in our rich and diverse cultural heritage as much as in our natural environment. With migration to the cities on the rise, rural Lifescapes are fast disappearing. The scenes in our villages that we look through today without ‘seeing’, the scenes that we take for granted, like ploughing with Buffaloes, will soon be gone forever. Sooner than we think….

  9. Thresi says:

    The photograph is simply fantastic. The write-up is excellent too!!

  10. shivu.k says:

    it is very nice colour combination with natural activities. it good picture. technically it is very good. lifescapes done very good job. congrats to salim pushpanath.

  11. Reji Jose says:

    All for Pepper – Interesting nugget of history !

  12. MINAL DALVI says:

    All the photographs sent by you so far have been too good. Especially, the Indian Roller. This photograph is also awesome. The info given by you is blends well. But the photo I had taken of pepper at the Orange County Coorg is more interesting. Keep up the good work.

  13. Smita Ghaisas says:

    Simply beautiful! made me nostalgic about the holiday I spent with my family at Orange County Coorg. And a great narration too!

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