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.

As we observe Thanksgiving in the U.S., The Secret Ingredient takes a step back with this episode on Salmon with Valerie Segrest. Valerie is a native nutrition educator who specializes in local and traditional foods. As an enrolled member of the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe, she serves her community as the coordinator of the Muckleshoot Food Sovereignty Project.

In 2010, she co-authored the book “Feeding the People, Feeding the Spirit: Revitalizing Northwest Coastal Indian Food Culture.” She received a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition from Bastyr University in 2009 and a Masters Degree in Environment and Community from Antioch University. She was a fellow for the Institute of Agriculture and Trade Policy and was recently the first Native to receive the King County Municipal League’s Public Employee of the Year Award for 2015. Valerie inspires and enlighten others about the importance of a nutrient-dense diet through a simple, common sense approach to eating.

Photo by the Native PTAC.