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Who were the Inca? South American history

By |2018-04-12T08:53:12-07:00September 9th, 2017|History, South America|

Macchu Picchu Until the 1400s AD, the Pacific coast of South America was made up of a lot of small independent kingdoms: first the Valdivia and Norte Chico people, then the Moche, the Chavin and the Mapuche. These kingdoms often raided each other, but then they went home again and made peace. This was like the city-states of ancient Greece, or the Etruscan period in Italy. Then one [...]

Who were the Chavin? South American history

By |2019-03-20T21:43:54-07:00September 9th, 2017|South America|

Chavin stone carving From Norte Chico to Chavin By around 900 BC, the Norte Chico people of northern Peru developed into the Chavin culture. Like the earlier Norte Chico people, the Chavin people used irrigation to farm potatoes, tomatoes, peanuts, and hot chili peppers. Who were the Norte Chico people? What about Valdivia further north? History of potatoes All our South America [...]

Central and South American food

By |2018-04-19T15:03:08-07:00September 8th, 2017|Central America, Food, South America|

Aztec men sharing a meal When people first came to Central and South America, perhaps about 15,000 BC, they hunted and gathered all of their food. They picked wild potatoes, wild teosinte (the ancestor of corn), wild beans and wild tomatoes and avocados. They hunted rabbits and llamas and turkeys, and fished in the rivers and the ocean. For fun, they probably fermented teosinte and other plants into [...]

What is sharecropping?

By |2019-03-04T11:47:35-07:00August 10th, 2017|Economy, North America|

Sharecroppers picking cotton. See the little girl and the bigger boy? (ca 1890) How do people become sharecroppers? When people didn't own any land, or they lost their land because of not being able to pay back money or food they borrowed, they often became sharecroppers. How do people fall into debt? History of farming All our American [...]

European food history – Renaissance to today

By |2018-04-20T00:13:50-07:00August 4th, 2017|Food, Modern Europe|

European food history: An early chocolate house Trade brings new foods During the 1500s and 1600s AD, European traders brought back all kinds of new foods from places they sailed to around the world. Rich people began to eat sugar and ginger from India. (Combining these two new foods together gave us the gingerbread man). Chocolate, coffee, and tea They [...]

Where are the Andes Mountains? South America

By |2019-01-26T13:17:39-07:00June 25th, 2017|Geology, South America|

The Andes mountains run down the Pacific side of South America When did the Andes form? About 199 million years ago, near the beginning of the Jurassic period, was the time of the dinosaurs. That's when the supercontinent of Pangaea broke up and the pieces began to float away from each other. The [...]

Where do tomatoes come from? South America

By |2018-04-20T00:18:42-07:00June 23rd, 2017|Food, South America|

History of tomatoes: Wild tomatoes Wild tomatoes in the Andes The earliest tomatoes were little sour berries. They grew on low bushes in dry, sunny places in the Andes mountains in South America, beginning about 350 million years ago. Tomato plants are related to nightshade, which is poisonous. So the leaves and stems [...]

How to make Peruvian peanut stew

By |2018-04-19T15:03:05-07:00June 22nd, 2017|Food, South America|

Clay model of Moche people eating To eat what Chavin or Moche or Nazca people might have eaten, try making this delicious Peruvian stew. It's filling and vegan! Fill a large saucepan about half full of water. Peel six potatoes and cut them into bite-size pieces, and put them in the water to [...]

How to make guacamole – Food project

By |2017-06-22T01:40:24-07:00June 22nd, 2017|Central America, Food|

Avocados mashed into guacamole To make guacamole the way the Aztecs did, take one ripe avocado and cut it in half. Use a knife or a fork to pry out the seed. Scoop out the yellow fruit into a bowl (or a stone mortar like the one in the picture) and mash it [...]

How to make aloco – West African food

By |2019-01-23T07:52:58-07:00June 21st, 2017|Africa, Food|

Aloco Palm oil and plantains Heat a cup of red palm oil (or peanut oil if you can't get palm oil) in a frying pan. Peel and slice raw plantains (they're like bananas) into discs or chunks and sprinkle them with salt. Fry the plantains until they are golden brown. Take the plantains [...]