Today's interesting Wikipedia article: a summary of the biology, history and culinary uses of the chili pepper in all its varieties and permutations. I have to admit to being surprised that the plant family is native only to South and Central America (including the Caribbean). Who would have thought that with its importance to cuisine from East Africa to Italy to India to Southeast Asia to China, this marvellous source of piquancy only become known to the rest of the world through Iberian colonisation of the Americas in the 16th century?
If they haven't already, someone should surely write a sweeping historical biography of the pepper's rise to world domination, along the lines of such books on salt, sugar, and, um, cod.
A prize to readers who can name other major food products that are widespread staples or central ingredients in national and international cuisines yet are relatively recent gifts to the world from Latin America. (Actually, no prize sorry, but see if you can name some anyway).