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FOUR PLANTS

CORN

 

Corn is native to the Americas. It grew wild from eastern North America almost to the tip of South America. Indians started planting it in gardens at least 5,000 years ago. They even raised popcorn. Some Indians ground their corn into flour and make corn bread. Others made very flat, round corn popcakes

 

Columbus took corn to Europe, and from there it spread to other continents

 

Today corn is a popular and important food in the Americas. However, farmers use most of it to feed to cattle, pigs, and chickens. Soft drinks are sweetened with corn sugar. People use corn oil for cooking. Corn is also used to make paper and industrial alcohol

 

COFFEE

 

Coffee is the favorite hot drink in almost all countries. A " coffee break " is an important part of life in the United States

 

An old story says that coffee was first discovered in Ethiopia. Men taking care of their sheep noticed that the sheep stayed awake all night when they ate coffee beans and leaves

 

Coffee was first used as a food, then a kind of wine, and then medicine. It became a drink about 700 years ago

 

People took coffee to Arabia in the thirteenth century. From there it went to Turkey, Europe, and the Americas

  

In 1963 the United Nations helped organize an International Coffee Agreement. Countries that export coffee agree on the price. This agreement helps Brazil and the other exporting countries get a fair price

 

SUGAR

 

Sugar cane is a kind of grass. It is a relative of corn and bamboo. No one has ever found a wild sugar plant, so no one is sure where the plant came from. Scientists think it probably came from Southeast Asia. Farmers were raising sugar cane in India by 300 B.C. It reached China before the first century B.C. and also moved slowly west to Persia. When the Arabs won a war against Persia, they introduced sugar throughout the Middle East, Sicily, and Spain. Columbus took it to the New World

 

PEANUTS

 

Peanuts are also called groundnuts because they grow underground. A peanut is not really a nut. It is a relative of beans and peas

 

The peanut is a native of tropical South America. Wild peanut plants still grow there. Farmers raised peanuts at least 2,000 years before Columbus went to the Americas

 

The Portuguese took peanuts to Europe and Africa, and the African slaves took them to North America

 

Today peanuts are raised in warm areas all over the world. In West Africa, the peanut is an important food. In most countries peanuts are used for oil. However, in the United States they are used for candy and peanut butter and to feed to animals

 

Source : Concepts and Comments

دسته ها : English Readings
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