pigment1 - In the early Renaissance (1470-1530), a common...

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1 Humans have always used the color of a food to form judgments about its desirability. The act of eating (and deciding what to eat) is a multi- sensory experience, synthesizing perceptions of sight, taste, smell, and touch. Color provides visual information about a food's quality and condition, and influences the perception of its flavor. In the early Renaissance (1470-1530), a common belief in Europe, based on Arabic ideas, was that color in food not only indicated nutritional value, but also inherent medicinal power connected to spiritual, celestial substances. Eating sweet red grapes produced full rich blood, black food like pepper or fungi induced melancholy, and coloring foods golden promoted divine solar healing. In the sixteenth century the New World food colorants annatto, paprika, brazilwood, and cochineal arrived in Europe. In Mexico in 1518 Hernando Cortes observed the Aztecs cultivating the tiny cochineal insects (Dactylopus coccus costa) that fed on red cactus berries. These insects were gathered by hand and ground into pigment, requiring 70,000 carcasses to make a pound. By 1600 approximately 500,000 pounds of cochineal were shipped annually to Spain.
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pigment1 - In the early Renaissance (1470-1530), a common...

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