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Before the appearance of chillies and peppers in the seventeenth century, the cooks in the Ottoman kitchens used huge quantities of ground black pepper to satisfy the jaded sultans’ need for culinary kicks. In the sixteenth century, peppercorns were a major trading commodity, with 1 kg (2 lb 4 oz) costing as much as 35 kg (over 75 lb) of bulgur. Then the long red and green peppers and chillies arrived from the Americas, and the bottom dropped out of the black pepper market, because chilli proved to be a useful preservative as well as a flavour booster.