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Hispanic Heritage
Red or Green, Some Like Them Hot



Red or Green, Some Like Them Hot
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 6 to 8
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   5.81

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    chil, chilis, chillis, chipotle, Chipotles, habanero, jalapeno, pod-type, pod-types, tabasco, texans, flavoring, designate, capsaicin, paprika, quesadillas
     content words:    United States, Christopher Columbus, New World, Scoville Heat Unit


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Red or Green, Some Like Them Hot
By Jane Runyon
  

1     The fastest growing food type in the United States today is Mexican or Southwestern. Everywhere you go you find restaurants serving tacos, enchiladas, quesadillas, and tamales. One ingredient you will find in most of these dishes is the chile.
 
2     The scientific name for the chile is Capsicum. We can thank Christopher Columbus for getting the name wrong. As you probably know, when Columbus landed in the New World, he thought he had landed near India. When he tasted the tangy red berries from a plant the Arawak natives gave him, he thought it was a new kind of black pepper. Pepper was a spice that was brought to Europe from India. Since the berries were red, he called it red pepper.
 
3     What Columbus tasted wasn't pepper at all. It came from a chile plant. Scientists have discovered that the chile plant has been farmed for over 7,000 years. Early natives found it easy to grow and added a lot of flavor to their food. Chiles grow in many varieties. They can be green, yellow, orange, or red. The bell pepper is a very mild chile. The habanero is fiery hot. There are many different varieties in between.

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