Scoville scale says … “It’s time to talk peppers!” They’re grown all over the world, bear cultural meaning and can satisfy your tastebuds like little else. Why do we eat them? Why can your grandma pop a habanero in her mouth and you pass out when a simple jalapeno meets your lips? And what’s up with Hillary Clinton eating them? In this edition we talk capsaicin with Gary Nabhan, author of “Chasing Chiles – Hot Spots Along the Pepper Trail,” “Why Some Like It Hot: Food, Genes and Cultural Diversity,” and “Cumin, Camels, and Caravans: A Spice Odyssey.” Nabhan is an internationally-celebrated nature writer, food and farming activist, and proponent of conserving the links between biodiversity and cultural diversity. He is also the W.K. Kellogg Endowed Chair in Sustainable Food Systems at the University of Arizona Southwest Center, where he works to build a more just, nutritious, sustainable and climate-resilient foodshed spanning the U.S.-Mexico border.

Come with us as we tour more than 100 years of southern cooking with Toni-Tipton Martin, author of “The Jemima Code: Two Centuries of African American Cookbooks!” Join KUT’s Rebecca McInroy, along with food writers and hosts of KUT’s newest podcast The Secret Ingredient, Tom Philpott and Raj Patel, as we explore the rich social, political, and economic history of the south, through food. And what could be more Southern for breakfast than pancakes!

We talk with anthropologist Sidney Mintz about his seminal work “Sweetness and Power: The Place of Sugar In Modern History.” Mintz takes us through our prehistoric relationship to sweetness–from the bloody history of slavery and sugar production to our current state of the mass production and consumption of sweetness worldwide. He talks about how factories developed on the sugar plantations and the way slavery developed in the New World, as well as the role this brutal pasts plays in current volatile racial relations in the U.S..