Thursday, October 15, 2009
The Story of HABANERO and HABANERA
Once upon a time, on a fair piece of land that would later be called South America, there lived a hardworking peasant. And our peasant simply loved fiery hot peppers, he could never had enough of them. Every year, he strived and toiled in order to make even hotter peppers, using all means and devices he could think of. No, his original methods will not be revealed here, because this is a “DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME” story. One day, when the hot peppers were ripe and ready to be eaten, the peasant went to the field early in the morning, eager to try the result of his labours. The peppers glowed a burning red, as if the fire from all the South American volcanoes had gathered inside their tender shiny flesh. Without hesitation, the peasant picked one, took a bite, and a flood of tears rolled on his cheek. No, they were not tears of pain, they were tears of joy. After years of trials and failures, he had finally grown the perfect hot red pepper. The Absolute Pepper, uncontested king of all hot peppers in the world.
“Thy name shall be HABANERO”, proclaimed the peasant while running towards his house.
“Wife, wife”, he called breathlessly, “try this pepper!”
The peasant’s wife was a nice obedient woman, so, although she did not share her husband’s passion for hot peppers, listened to his urges and took a bite. But no sooner had the devilish pepper flesh touched her tongue that she started waving her hands and spinning around the table, her face in flames and her eyes bulging out of her head. At the same time, some women from the neighbourhood were passing by and they saw through the window the peasant’s wife “dance”.
“Great dance”, they thought, “we could all dance it at the harvest festival next month!” So they entered the house and joined the peasant’s wife, trying to learn the moves.
“Say, sister, this is wonderful! How do you call it? It must be from your mother’s village, because we’ve never seen the likes of it around here.”
But the peasant’s wife was still under the HABANERO spell and unable to talk. From a corner, the other women could hear the elated husband’s voice:
“HABANERA, I call it HABANERA!”
And thus the hot pepper HABANERO and HABANERA the dance were born on the same day. I must add here that while the habanero is still fiery hot, fortunately for the audiences, the habanera dropped the chaotic running around the table, the red face and the bulging eyes, turning into a slow dance.