Saturday, September 12, 2009

A Recommended Link

A couple of years back I was introduced to Nayan Chandra's book Bound Together from a recommendation by Thomas Barnett as he prepared for his recent book, Great Powers. A major hat/tip goes out to the folks at The China Beat for introducing Yale Global online which is edited by Chandra.

Connectivity has been a major theme of this blog since it's founding and the addition of Yale Global is a welcome link to further understanding our world. This doesn't mean to underscore the achievements of my home country. On the contrary, it serves to illustrate the spread of the very source code of capitalism and free trade that originated on this continent and spread to all corners of the globe.

In keeping with a history theme, here is a series of articles linked by The China Beat that illustrates how the trade of food staples, spread around the world.

Here is a tease to whet your interest.

Whether it is mocha java, a cuppa joe, or half-decaf, skim, no-whip latte, coffee seems to be everywhere - even in Beijing's Forbidden City. But this ubiquitous pick-me-up was not always so prevalent, nor was it always so popular. At varying times a carefully guarded secret, and at others a banned drink, this has not prevented the dark brew and its aroma from spreading from its place of origin in Ethiopia to the entire world.

The story has it that coffee was discovered by an attentive Ethiopian goatherd who noticed a frenzy that overcame his flock after eating the ripe berry. From Ethiopia coffee moved to Yemen where it was cultivated for centuries before arriving in Turkey in 1453. It was in Turkey that the seeds were roasted and then mashed and mixed with water, similar to our modern version.

read more: coffee,

And for those who enjoy a Churchill now and then.

Amerindians introduced tobacco to other European explorers, sailors and settlers - but the plant would never have made the jump to European culture without the help of physicians. They seized upon the notion that many Amerindian cultures valued tobacco as a powerful healing agent. They did not share the Amerindian belief in the supernatural character of illness, but Europeans were eager to discover new plants from the New World with healing properties. In their zeal for finding herbal remedies, these doctors did not realize that they were promoting a major source of disease.

Read more:tobacco,


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