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A sport pepper is not a watermelon
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Ron Draney
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Was surprised to find when listening to the most recent show that Grant was not familiar with the term “sport pepper”. I can only assume that this is a regional thing; while I’m not from the Midwest, I’ve long heard the term used in connection with Chicago all-beef hot dogs as one of the optional condiments, and at one time I think Long John Silver was also putting them on one of their fish sandwiches. I picture a fairly small yellow chile pepper, and assumed for no good reason that “sport” referred to whatever genetic mutation made them small, or yellow, or hot. (“Sport” is an old biologists’ term for what we would now call a “freak”.)

Speaking of peppers and the language associated with them, the decade I spent in New Mexico has resulted in an ambiguity for me that is shared only with other residents of that state. Along with the “Big Jim”, “NuMex”, “Anaheim”, “6-4” and other varieties is one called the “Sandia”, named for the mountains east of Albuquerque. Only a New Mexican could pass a hand-printed sign outside a Spanish-language produce stand advertising “SANDIAS 79 ¢/LB” and be uncertain whether they’re selling chiles or watermelon for that price. (The mountains themselves are named after the Spanish word for “watermelon” because they’re pink at sunset.)

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