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Evolving Beyond the Chili Pepper

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This post will no doubt stir the wrath of many friends in New Mexico, where I visit frequently.

I have never been a fan of eating chili peppers -- though I seemed to have to when I worked for Senator Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico.

Folks in Alamagordo and Roswell and Farmington and Las Cruces, and lots of smaller places like Cuba, New Mexico or Truth or Consequences -- would take to me better if I downed some chili peppers. I still haven't figured out which of the red or green are less hot and easier on me as they both created "fear."

I do like them aesthetically. I like to see them hanging on porches of adobe homes and have a bunch of chili pepper shaped Christmas tree ornaments.

But I did eat them, and I figured I had to because folks have been eating those chili peppers since living in the cliffs in Mesa Verde.

So you might understand why I laughed when I saw this Washington Post piece today, "One Hot Archaeological Find," noting a discovery indicating that humans were using chili peppers to spice up their diet 6,100 years ago.

Was there any doubt?! I have really struggled to try and eat these things out of respect for ancient culture and my presumption that humans have been eating chili peppers for tens of thousands of years.

But I think I'm part of an evolved group of humans who thinks that chili peppers are more about the past -- and hopefully less a part of the future.

OK. I know the next thing that will happen is that I will get besieged with chili pepper offers and products, chili pepper advocating emails, chili peppers clandestinely slipped into my soup at restaurants around town, and visits from DC-bound chili pepper growers.

Evolution. I'm a fan. I'm waiting for the beyond chili pepper world.

-- Steve Clemons is Senior Fellow and Director of the American Strategy Program at the New America Foundation and publishes the popular political blog, The Washington Note