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eniko.basa at verizon dot net
Mon, 15 Feb 2010 13:11:51 EST by admin, 100336 views
Bowie State University, Maryland
Science/Economics paper by Feny?, Mario (all papers)
Paprika, East and West
In 1937 the Nobel prize for “Physiology or Medicine” was awarded to Albert Szent-Györgyi, a professor of biochemistry at the University of Szeged in Hungary. For the first time, he and some colleagues, including the American Joseph Svirbely from the University of Pittsburgh, were able to isolate Vitamin C, ascorbic acid. Notwithstanding Linus Pauling (another Nobel prize laureate) and Szent-Györgyi himself, vitamin C may not cure or prevent the common cold, but it certainly cures the vitamin deficiency known as scurvy or scorbutus (hence “ascorbic” acid) which plagued English (and other) sailors of yore deprived of fresh fruit and vegetables during their long voyages. Vitamin C is also a major anti-oxydant.
It took Szent-Györgyi a while to find the most economical raw material for his experiments and for producing the vitamin, until he hit upon the idea of using the product, or produce, for which the Szeged region of southern Hungary is so famous, namely paprika, or red pepper.
Paprika (capsicum annuum), our topic, can be approached from various angles. In Korea the spicy paste prepared from red pepper is called gochugaru (고추가루), often added to bibimbap (비빔밥). Paprika or chili is also the key ingredient in kimchi, which in turn is a key dish in the Korean diet. Instead of a trip to Japan or Hongkong, taken by most of my comrades in the military, I remember spending my R and R (Rest and Recuperation) on a beach on the Eastern coast of the Korean peninsula. Our hotel room was a cabin with an outhouse, and our meals consisted of rice for breakfast, rice for lunch and rice for dinner. The same was true about the diet of most Koreans in those days, preceding the boom of the South Korean economy. What made the fare palatable, balanced and nutritious, what relieved the monotony of white rice, was precisely kimchi-- in other words, paprika.
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