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Directions (1-5): Read the passage carefully and answer the questions given below it. Certain words/ phrases have been given in bold to help you locate them while answering some of the questions.
In 132, the Soviet Union sent one of its best agents to China, a former schoolteacher and counter-espionage expert from Germany named Otto Braun. His mission was to serve as a military adviser to the Chinese Communists, who were engaged in a desperate battle for survival against Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalists. The full story of Braun’s misadventures in China’s Communist revolution is packed with enough twists and turns for a Hollywood thriller. But in the domain of culinary history, one anecdote from Braun’s autobiography stands out. Braun recalls his first impressions of Mao Zedong, the man who would go on to become China’s paramount leader. The shrewd peasant organizer had a mean, even “spiteful” streak. “For example, for a long time I could not accustom myself to the strongly spiced food, such as hot fried peppers, which is traditional to southern China, especially in Hunan, Mao’s birthplace.” The Soviet agent’s tender taste buds invited Mao’s mockery. “The food of the true revolutionary is the red pepper,” declared Mao. “And he who cannot endure red peppers is also unable to fight.’ ” Maoist revolution is probably not the first thing that comes to mind when your tongue is burning from a mouthful of Kung Pao chicken or Mapo Tofu at your favorite Chinese restaurant. But the unlikely connection underscores the remarkable history of the chili pepper.
For years culinary detectives have been on the chili pepper’s trail, trying to figure out how a New World import became so firmly rooted in Sichuan, a landlocked province on the southwestern frontier of China. “It’s an extraordinary puzzle,” says Paul Rozin, a University of Pennsylvania psychologist, who has studied the cultural evolution and psychological impact of foods, including the chili pepper. Food historians have pointed to the province’s hot and humid climate, the principles of Chinese medicine, the constraints of geography, and the exigencies of economics. Most recently neuropsychologists have uncovered a link between the chili pepper and risk-taking. The research is provocative because the Sichuan people have long been notorious for their rebellious spirit; some of the momentous events in modern Chinese political history can be traced back to Sichuan’s hot temper. As Wu Dan, the manager of a hotpot restaurant in Chengdu, Sichuan’s capital, told a reporter: “The Sichuanese are fiery. They fight fast and love fast and they like their food to be like them—hot.”
The chili pepper, genus capsicum, is indigenous to the tropics, where archaeological records indicate it has been cultivated and consumed perhaps as far back as 5000 B.C. Typically a perennial shrub bearing red or green fruit, it can be grown as an annual in regions where temperatures reach freezing in the winter. There are five domesticated species, but most of the chili peppers consumed in the world belong to just two, Capsicum annuum and Capsicum frutescens.
The active ingredient in chili peppers is a compound called capsaicin. When ingested, capsaicin triggers pain receptors whose normal evolutionary purpose is to alert the body to dangerous physical heat. The prevailing theory is the chili pepper’s burn is a trick to dissuade mammals from eating it, because the mammalian digestive process normally destroys chili pepper seeds, preventing further propagation. Birds—which do not destroy chili pepper seeds during digestion—have no analogous receptors. So, when a bird eats a chili pepper, it doesn’t feel a thing, excretes the seeds, and spreads the plant.
The word “chili” comes from the Nahuatl family of languages, spoken, most famously, by the Aztecs. (One early Spanish translation of the word was “el miembro viril”—tantalizing early evidence of the chili pepper’s inherent machismo.) Botanists believe the chili pepper originated in southwest Brazil or south central Bolivia, but by the 15th century, birds and humans had spread it throughout South and Central America. Enter Christopher Columbus. On Jan. 1, 143, the great explorer recorded in his diary his discovery, on the Caribbean island of Hispaniola, that “the pepper which the local Indians used as spice is more abundant and more valuable than either black or melegueta pepper [an African spice from the ginger family].”
In the 15th century, Spain and Portugal were obsessed with finding sea routes to the spice markets of Asia that would allow them to break the monopoly wielded by Arab traders over access to hot commodities like black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, and ginger. Although Columbus was utterly wrong in his belief that he had sailed to India, he still succeeded in locating precisely what he had been seeking. What he found was a potent, popular spice which the natives, observed Columbus’ physician Deigo Chanca, included with every meal— chili pepper. The plant Columbus encountered is believed to be Capsicum annuum or frutescens, which he described as “like rose bushes which make a fruit as long as cinnamon.” The chili pepper, like so many edible plants native to the New World, proved to be a wildly popular global sensation. Within a century of Columbus’ arrival in the New World, the chili pepper had made its way to places as far-flung as Hungary (paprika!), West Africa, India, China, and Korea.
The first mention of the chili pepper in the Chinese historical record appears in 151, although historians have yet to arrive at a consensus as to exactly how it arrived in the Middle Kingdom. One school of thought believes the pepper came overland from India into western China via a northern route through Tibet or a southern route across Burma. But the first consistent references to chili peppers in local Chinese gazettes start in China’s eastern coastal regions and move gradually inland toward the West—reaching Hunan in 1684 and Sichuan in 1749—data points that support the argument that the chili pepper arrived by sea, possibly via Portuguese traders who had founded a colony near the southern Chinese coast on the island of Macao. Historians and ethno gastronomes have been confounded by the fact that other parts of China with exposure to the chili pepper sampled it and shrugged. Notably, in the southeast, the Cantonese easily resisted its blandishments while maintaining allegiance to their own much more subtly flavored cuisine. But in Sichuan, the chili pepper stuck. Clearly some constellation of factors made the province different.
Q1. According to the given passage, which of the following fact(s) has/ have baffled the historians?
(I) People from several parts of China were indifferent towards chili pepper
(II) Chili pepper stuck in Sichuan
(III) Various parts of China did not get exposure to the chili.
(a) Only (I)
(b) Only (II)
(c) Both (I) and (III)
(d) Both (I) and (II)
(e) All (I), (II) and (III)
Q2. Why were some Europeans so preoccupied with finding sea routes to the spice markets of Asia?
(a) To break the monopoly wielded by Arab traders over access to hot commodities of that time
(b) To compete with each other
(c) To gain an upper hand over others
(d) To propagate Industrialisation
(e) None of these
Q3. According to the author, what was Otto Braun’s first impression of Mao Zedong?
(a) He found Mao Zedong an interesting person.
(b) He found him mean and malicious.
(c) He thought that this man would go on to become China’s paramount leader.
(d) He thought that Mao is a lover of spices.
(e) All of these.
Q4. According to the given passage, why does a bird not feel anything when it eats chili?
(a) Because its taste buds are not proactive.
(b) Because it excretes the seeds without destroying it.
(c) Because it does not have receptors like humans.
(d) Because it spreads the plant.
(e) Not given in the passage.
Q5. According to the author, why is the research work of food historians and psychologists provocative?
(a) Because Sichuan people are famous for their violent spirit.
(b) Because Sichuan people fight fast and love fast
(c)Because The Sichuan people are fiery
(d) Because Sichuan people have been infamous for their rebellion nature.
(e) All of these
Directions (6-10): In each question, there is a sentence with a part of the sentence printed in bold. Decide whether this bold part is correct and fits in the grammatical and contextual framework of the sentence. If it is to be changed, choose from option (a) to (d) to replace that part. If not, mark (e) as the answer i.e. ‘No change required’.
Q6. Except for you and I, everyone brought a present to the party.
(a) With the exception of you and I everyone brought
(b) Except for you and I, everyone had brought
(c) Except for you and me, everyone brought
(d) Exception of you and me, everyone had brought
(e) No change required
Q7. Had I realized how close I was to falling, I would not have gone to the party.
(a) If I would have realized how close
(b) Had I realize how close
(c) When I realized how close
(d) If I realized close
(e) No change required
Q8. If he was to decide to go to college, I for one, would recommend that he go to Yale University.
(a) If he were to decide to go to college.
(b) Had he decided to go to college
(c) In the event that he decides to go to college
(d) Supposing he was, to decide to go to college
(e) No change required
Q9. Being as I am a realist, I could not accept his statement that super natural beings has caused the disturbance.
(a) That I am a realist
(b) Being a realist
(c) Being that I am a realist
(d) Realist that I am
(e) No change required
Q10. He failed to carry over his instructions because they were not specific.
(a) in carrying forward
(b) to carry on
(c) carrying around
(d) to carry out
(e) No correction required
It is given in the last paragraph of the given passage that ‘Historians and ethno gastronomes have been confounded (baffled) by the fact that other parts of China with exposure to the chili pepper sampled it and shrugged’ Hence, we can conclude that only (I) is true. Hence, (a) is the correct option.
In the sixth paragraph, it is clearly given that ‘Spain and Portugal were obsessed with finding sea routes to the spice markets of Asia that would allow them to break the monopoly wielded by Arab traders over access to hot commodities’. Hence, (a) is the correct option.
In the first paragraph it is clearly given that ‘Braun recalls his first impressions of Mao Zedong…‘ after which the author says that ‘The shrewd peasant organizer had a mean, even “spiteful” streak.’ Hence, (b) is the correct option.
From the statement ‘………(birds) have no analogous receptors. So, when a bird eats a chili pepper, it doesn’t feel a thing………….’ given in the fourth paragraph, we can conclude that (c) is the most appropriate option.
It is given in the second paragraph that ‘The research is provocative because the Sichuan people have long been notorious for their rebellious spirit’. Hence, we can easily conclude that (d) is the correct option.
Replace ‘Except for you and I, everyone brought’ with ‘Except for you and me, everyone brought’.
‘Had I realized how close’ with ‘If I would have realized how close’.
‘If he was to decide to go to college’ with ‘If he were to decide to go to college.’
‘Being as I am a realist’ with ‘Being a realist’
Replace ‘to carry over’ with ‘to carry out’
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