Comments by chained_bear

  • "A French monk at the abbey of Ligugé argued that the rules developed for Eastern ascetics did not apply with the same force to a Frenchman, because, well, the French are different: 'That a Cyrenean can bear to eat nothing but cooked herbs and barley bread is because nature and necessity have accustomed him to eating nothing.' What was true of an Eastern eremite did not suit French conditions: 'We Gauls, we cannot live like angels.'"
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 278

    December 6, 2016

  • "Having summarized the historically Spartan diet of the monks, Udalric of Cluny proceeds to tell of the apocrisarius, the treasure keeper, charged with supplying the monks 'if he can lay his hands on the ingredients, with well-peppered fishes, and piment.'"
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 276

    December 6, 2016

  • "When Suger of Saint-Denis lay dying of malaria in 1137, he summoned the monks and decreed two pittances* of spiced wine, plus wheat and wine for the poor.

    *The original sense of a pittance was a bequest to a religious house, whence it came to designate a small dietary allowance to the monks. The sense here is of modest sufficiency."
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 276

    December 6, 2016

  • What a name. See chrism.

    December 6, 2016

  • "To this day the Russian Church uses spices in its chrism. Over the course of Holy Week, the Moscow patriarchate prepares a year's supply, during which time a blend of oil, wine, flowers, and spices is stirred, boiled, and reduced, during the last three days to the accompaniment of nonstop gospel readings. There is no strict definition of the ingredients, but a typical mix is still built around the Exodus template of olive oil, cinnamon, and cassia, with the addition of other spices such as cloves, ginger, and cardamom. When the chrism is ready, it is blessed by the patriarch, poured into consecrated vessels, then distributed to dioceses around the country. Authority for the use of the spices stretches back to the time of Dionysius the Pseudo-Areopagite, signifying 'the grace-giving aroma of the variegated gifts of the Holy Spirit.'"
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 262-263

    December 6, 2016

  • "Beginning with Pepin's coronation, the Carolingian ritual of royal anointing self-consciously followed Old Testament coronation accounts, in which the holiness of the oil was integral to the symbolism of the ritual, conferring on God's anointed the stature of king and priest, his robes 'fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia.' While the associations were sacred, the need was political. The problem was particularly pressing for the Carolingians, who despite holding effective power as mayors of the palace were constrained to recognize the divine right of the last surviving member of the Merovingian dynasty, an imbecile driven around in an oxcart. The solution was provided by the Church by anointing with the chrism, thereby confirming Pepin's legitimacy as both king and priest, more than a merely secular ruler."
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 260

    December 6, 2016

  • Lots of historical notes/usages on spice trade. Also see comment on Sassanids.

    December 6, 2016

  • Usage/historical note on Sassanids.

    December 6, 2016

  • "Midway through the sixth century, the Persian dynasty of the Sasanids (alternate spelling) closed the trade routes and entrepôts to Byzantine traders, forcing them to buy from the Persian state at exorbitant prices. In 575, the Persians shored up the last remaining gap in their monopoly with the conquest and annexation of the then-Christian kingdom of the Yemen, where the Romans had acquired the spices and incense used across Christendom. The East was now closed to the West."


    "... A more lasting defeat came in 642, when the Sasanids were utterly vanquished by the unstoppable armies of Islam and the spice routes passed under Islamic control. For the next thousand years, Christians relied on Jews and Muslims to supply aromas for their worship."
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 258 and 259

    December 6, 2016

  • "The Constantinian basilica of Saint Peter's, the church to which the emperor donated the largest amount of spices, was entered via an atrium that was itself called Paradise,* enclosing a garden with fountains: a scaled-down version of the real thing. And if garden, waters, and enclosure of Paradise were imitated, why not its smell?

    *The word derives from the Persian, via Greek, meaning 'enclosure.'"
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 258

    December 6, 2016

  • "Mark Pendergrast concluded his history of Coca-Cola with a leaked copy of the formula of the world's most popular and symbolic soft drink, which is, it would seem, spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg. Earlier leaks fo the formula, while differing among themselves, suggest the same. If Pendergrast's source can be trusted, it would seem that spices remain as much the flavor of the age as they have ever been, albeit in disguise, hidden away int he basement of Coca-Cola headquarters in Atlanta."
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 310

    December 6, 2016

  • "For the sake of spices East and West had an ancient relationship. In light of the appearance of spices in the most remote periods, it is a reasonable possibility that it was because of spices that they first met. Yet so thoroughly implanted is the sense of the otherness of spices that native Mediterranean aromatics such as cumin, coriander, saffron, and fennel have come to be associated more with the cuisine of the countries that adopted them than with the lands of their origin--a reminder that the cultural traffic that traveled along the spice routes went both ways. ... Today, when spices are making a comeback ... it is often claimed that spices were introduced with the great wave of migration from the former colonies. It is a claim that would have startled the first Europeans who went to Asia, particularly since it was spice that lured many of them there."
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 305-6

    December 6, 2016

  • see also comments on spice trade.

    December 6, 2016

  • "In the early days, Europe's pioneers in the East had little choice but to assimilate, Portuguese, Dutch, and English alike eating Indian food and developing their own fusion cuisine, of which vindaloo is perhaps the classic example.* Whereas in the days of the Raj there evolved a parallel white man's cuisine, the dreadful white and brown sauces that still linger on in some of India's wealthy households and boarding schools....

    *The name derives from the Portuguese for 'wine' (vinho) and 'garlic' (d'alho): wine and garlic sauce. The dish is effectively Portuguese India on a plate, the pork and vinegar of Europe married with the ginger and cardamom of India."
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 305

    December 6, 2016

  • "One of the most interesting and unexpected survivals" of medieval cookery "lives on in Mexico's mole poblano, a fusion of American ingredients with the flavors of medieval Spain: turkey, chocolate, vanilla, and chilies married with almonds, cloves, and cinnamon. ... It is as though the tastes of Montezuma and the Catholic kings meet on the plate."
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 303-4

    December 6, 2016

  • Usage/historical note can be found on spices but since that has so many comments, I'll just put it here too for convenience:

    "Spices hung on in isolated pockets, but they were not what they had once been. Today the astute culinary archaeologist can still find such relics as spiced bread in Devon, and further north there is a plethora of richly spiced puddings--Scotland's national dish, the spicy haggis, is essentially a medieval pudding. Scandinavia and the Baltic have preserved several remnants of medieval cooking, largely in biscuits, breads, cakes, and liqueurs...."
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 303

    December 6, 2016

  • "Spices hung on in isolated pockets, but they were not what they had once been. Today the astute culinary archaeologist can still find such relics as spiced bread in Devon, and further north there is a plethora of richly spiced puddings--Scotland's national dish, the spicy haggis, is essentially a medieval pudding. Scandinavia and the Baltic have preserved several remnants of medieval cooking, largely in biscuits, breads, cakes, and liqueurs...."

    and... "... it was only with Pasteur's discovery of the microbe that the old fallacy of bad air was finally taken out of the equation. With the advance of empirical methods of medicine, subject to verification, humoral theory was dealt a deadly blow. Smells and miasmas, the invisible death-dealing airs that had hung over medical thought since antiquity, were dismissed as fallacious. As bad air and humoral theory were on the way out, with them went spices. ... By the start of the eighteenth century, the divorce between the physicians and apothecaries, descendants of the medieval spicers, was already well advanced...."

    and... "With irrelevance came innocence. The sense of spices' latent temptations, long framed in the medieval moral matrix of gluttony, lust, avarice, and worldliness, was downgraded to strictly individual issues of personal consumption. Falling costs and widespread availability would combine to strip spices of their symbolism.... In the modern world it tends to be the poor, not the rich, who eat spices."
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 303, 307, and 309

    December 6, 2016

  • "There was no small irony in the fact that the Protestant powers were also the leaders in the spice trade. In the seventeenth-century Netherlands, even as the VOC brought back cargoes of cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg, Calvinist preachers railed against the corrupting influence of Eastern spices and their redolence of pagan sensualism. In Cromwell's England, propagandists took aim at seasonings along with bear baiting and theaters. ... The Commonwealth soon faltered, but its legacy in the kitchen endured long afterward.... Spices hung on in isolated pockets, but they were not what they had once been."
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 303

    December 6, 2016

  • "With the Renaissance there was a reordering of the cosmos along less theological, less allegorical lines, with the result that spices lost their symbolism, their ancient significance of health and holiness. ... Meanwhile, the conspicuous outlets for consumption were increasingly channeled away from the table, to jewelry, music, houses, art, and carriages. The modern dinner was a more private affair than its medieval predecessor."


    and... "The age of the emergent nation-state was also the age of national cuisines, none of which had much room for spice. ... In the cookbooks of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, elaboration and costliness make way for economy and practicality. In Hannah Glasse's Art of Cookery of 1747, for nearly a hundred years the most popular cookbook in the Anglophone world, the use of spices is strictly limited. Pepper survives in much the same role as it has today, no longer the central element as in medieval black pepper sauces. Across the Atlantic, the trend was much the same. There were relics: galantine survived, now transformed from the original spicy sauce into a jelly. The general trend was to relegate spices to desserts such as mince pies and puddings. Which is where, until very recently, they remained."

    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 301, 302

    December 6, 2016

  • Usage/historical note can be found on tobacco.

    December 6, 2016

  • Usage/historical note can be found on tobacco.

    December 6, 2016

  • "The chili was only one of several new stimulants competing for attention. A craving for tobacco swept the world in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, with coffee and tea following not far behind. Although sugar had been known in the Middle Ages (classed, incidentally, as a spice and used largely for medical purposes), its consumption began to increase dramatically from the sixteenth century on. Late in the century, sugar began to be mass-produced in Brazil and somewhat later in the West Indies, the apparent result a general sweetening of the Western palate, an upward curve that has continued, much to the cost of our teeth and the profit of our dentists, to this day. The carousing cavaliers of the great Dutch artists endured a dental hell. Sugar had something of the glamour and forbidden attraction formerly reserved to spices, and its air of dangerous newness probably did no harm to its attraction."
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 300

    December 6, 2016

  • Usage/historical note can be found on chili.

    December 6, 2016

  • Usage/historical note can be found on chili.

    December 6, 2016

  • Another usage/historical note can be found on chili.

    December 6, 2016

  • Usage/historical note (unfortunately capitalized) can be found on chili.

    December 6, 2016

  • "... After Columbus first returned with a sample, the plant spread so fast around the world that many Europeans assumed it was of Asian origin. Paprika put down roots from Spain to Hungary. Pepper, for which there had long been no substitute, could now be outgunned."
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 300

    December 6, 2016

  • "It is probably no coincidence that this fall from favor occurred just at the time when spices had to compete in an increasingly crowded marketplace. The world was getting smaller, and its bounty was coming to the dinner table. The advent of potatoes, squash, tomatoes, and peppers created new possibilities for cooks, at the same time lessening the workload of spices. American chili was both cheaper and stronger than pepper, and it could be grown practically anywhere...."
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 300

    December 6, 2016

  • Usage/historical note on aristolochies.

    December 6, 2016

  • "Eventually the nuns consulted a learned theologican, who tried an aromatic fumigation:

    'A new vessel, made of glass-like earth, was accordingly brought in, and filled with sweet cane, cubeb seed, roots of both aristolochies, great and small cardamom, ginger, long pepper, caryophylleae (gillyflowers), cinnamon, cloves, mace, nutmegs, calamite, storax, benzoin, aloes-wood and roots, one ounce of triapandalis (a mix of various types of sandalwood), and three pounds of half brandy and water; the vessel was then set on hot ashes in order to distil the fumigating vapour, and the cell was kept closed....'"
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 256-57

    December 6, 2016

  • "On the site where Saint Peter's Basilica now stands, then occupied by an older church built by Constantine and his mother, Helena, the emperor donated a small tonnage of sacred equipment: gold, bronze, and porphyry, candelabra and gifts from the Eastern Church consisting of 225 pounds of balsam, 800 pounds of oil of nard, 650 pounds of unspecified aromatics, 50 corn measures of pepper, 50 pounds of cloves, 100 pounds of saffron, and 100 pounds of fine linen... In total, the emperor donated a staggering 150 pounds of cloves to various churches.... Either way these spices were evidently Church equipment; they were not there to be eaten, no more than the candelabras or censers with which they are grouped. To all appearances we are very close here to customs excoriated by earlier writers, not far from the cinnamon stored in a golden dish in a pagan temple on the Palatine or the dedication of cinnamon to Apollo at Miletus by King Seleucus. A little over one hundred years after Tertullian had railed against the sweet, demon-attracting bait, and within living memory of a time when martyrs had chosen death ahead of burning incense, God had reacquired his nostrils. Who had converted whom?"
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 250

    December 6, 2016

  • "During the persecutions of the emperors Decius in 249-251 and Diocletian in 303-304, believers were identified and offered a chance to recant by sacrificing, offering a libation, or burning incense before an image of the emperor. On doing so, they were granted the appropriate certificate; if not, they were promptly executed (many Christians seem to have survived the persecutions by bribing corrupt officials). Those Christians who elected idolatry over martyrdom were sneeringly called the 'Turifurcati,' or incense burners. To Saint Jerome (ca. 347-419/420) the tag was a form of shorthand for the weak or vacillating Christian who was unwilling to die for his faith."
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 247

    December 6, 2016

  • "Like Judaism, Islam emerged in conflict with a pagan universe, and the aromas that had once played such a part in pagan worship were expunged.... Within the Prophet's lifetime spices effectively disappeared from Arabian religion. No other major religion is so thoroughly devoid of aromatics or physical offerings.*

    *Although spices played no direct role in Muslim worship, medieval Islamic scholars produced perhaps the most poetic version of their origins. According to the great Islamic scholar at-Tabarî (ca. 839-923) and the Arab geographers who followed him, on Adam's expulsion from Paradise he was overcome by remorse and wept with grief. From his bitter tears sprang gems and spices, the medicines and consolation for mankind after the fall."
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 246 and 246n

    December 6, 2016

  • "At the Mycenaean palace complex of Pylos, built sometime around 1300 B.C. and destroyed around 1100 B.C.--the era generally identified with the Trojan War--archaeologists found that no less than 15 percent of the clay tablets recording the palace inventories dealt with various herbs and aromatics. When the language of the tablets was deciphered and found to be an early form of Greek, the names of numerous aromatics emerged. Coriander was there, easily recognizable as ko-ri-a-da-na. Tablets from the contemporary palace complex at Mycenae, according to legend the home of King Agamemnon, Helen's brother-in-law, contain cumin (ku-mi-no) and sesame (sa-sa-ma), both words of Semitic origin."
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 240

    December 6, 2016

  • "... the reliefs offer at the very least a clue as to why ... spices were so valued as to warrant a trade over such vast distances.* For a culture accustomed to thinking of trade in terms of profit, and of spices as mere seasonings, it is a reminder of how easily our assumptions glide into a past where they don't belong. The first identifiable impulse for maritime contact between Egypt and the world beyond, by any measure one of the defining moments in global history, appears to have come not from gourmets but from the gods."

    *Some scholars have long argued that not only this trade but all trade first existed in order to serve sacred purposes. When the word for 'merchant' first appeared in Mesopotamian texts of the second millennium B.C., it carried sacred associations, designating 'the official of a temple privileged to trade abroad.'"
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 239, 239n, 240

    December 6, 2016

  • "... the reliefs offer at the very least a clue as to why ... spices were so valued as to warrant a trade over such vast distances.* For a culture accustomed to thinking of trade in terms of profit, and of spices as mere seasonings, it is a reminder of how easily our assumptions glide into a past where they don't belong. The first identifiable impulse for maritime contact between Egypt and the world beyond, by any measure one of the defining moments in global history, appears to have come not from gourmets but from the gods."

    *Some scholars have long argued that not only this trade but all trade first existed in order to serve sacred purposes. When the word for 'merchant' first appeared in Mesopotamian texts of the second millennium B.C., it carried sacred associations, designating 'the official of a temple privileged to trade abroad.'"
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 239, 239n, 240

    December 6, 2016

  • "In the words of the accompanying inscription, these intrepid ancient mariners" (on history's first recorded merchant fleet between 2491 and 2477 B.C.) "brought back to the Nile 'all goodly fragrant woods of God's-Land, heaps of myrrh resin, with fresh myrrh trees, with ebony, and pure ivory, with green gold of Emu, with cinnamon wood, kheyst wood, with ihmut-incense, sonter-incense, eye-cosmetic, with apes, monkeys, dogs, and with skins of the southern panther, with natives and their children.'"
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 238

    December 6, 2016

  • "... the Egyptians themselves were scarcely any clearer on the source of their aromatics, a semimythical land they knew as 'Punt.' Located somewhere on the southern shores of the Red Sea, Punt was supplier to the temples and god-kings of the Nile for well over two thousand years. The earliest recorded expedition took place in the time of the pharoah Sahure, ruler from 2491 to 2477 B.C., although a slave from Punt appears in the court of Cheops (ca. 2589-2566 B.C.), builder of the great pyramid at Giza. For the sake of its aromatics, Punt was the destination of history's first recorded merchant fleet, a representation of which is still to be seen jinking an angular course around the walls of the temple of Deir al-Bahri, carved there by order of the female pharoah Hatshepsut around 1495 B.C. The reliefs depict a fleet of five ships, complete with sailors climbing aloft, teams of rowers, and steersmen fore and aft, navigating through a sea populated by giant squid and enormous fish. ... Modern scholarship generally concurs in situating Punt somewhere in the vicinity of modern Somalia, a voyage of some two thousand miles southward through the treacherous, reef-bound waters of the Red Sea."
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 238

    December 6, 2016

  • Usage/historical note on Shezmou.

    December 6, 2016

  • Usage/historical note on Shezmou.

    December 6, 2016

  • Usage/historical note on Shezmou.

    December 6, 2016

  • Usage/historical note on Shezmou.

    December 6, 2016

  • "To the Egyptians, moreover, incense not only was pleasing to the gods but also came from the gods. Dating from much the same time is the famous manuscript of the Shipwrecked Sailor, a briny yarn of a castaway lost in the 'land of incense'--Arabia? Somalia?--where he is confronted by a terrifying serpent god who threatens to burn him to ashes. To appease his wrath, the terrified sailor offers the god a range of unidentifiable aromatics: 'I will cause ibi, hekenu, iudeneb, and khesait to be brought to thee, and incense of the temples, wherewith every god is content,' pleads the terrified sailor. But his offer is a case of coals to Newcastle, the god replying with a laugh that it is he who made them. So central were these notions to the Egyptian concept of worship that there was a professional class whose job it was to prepare the sacred oils and unguents. Among the bewildering, animal-headed pantheon of the Egyptians there was even a god of perfumers, Shezmou."
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 237

    December 6, 2016

  • "... Burning incense releases chemicals similar to human steroids that are thought to play a role in human sexual behavior. If so, something along these lines might contribute to a sense of emotional uplift, a feeling of exhilaration amenable to mild religious transport. Less contentiously, perhaps, there is a consensus that smell disrupts and stimulates the conventional workings of the mind: certain aromas have powers of association that can bend perceptions of time and place. As Rousseau observed, smell is the sense of memory and desire, and such evocative powers are arguably not entirely removed from the experience of religious transport. Smell is as ineffable and elusive as the gods themselves, wafting beyond the reach of the rational intellect."
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 234

    December 6, 2016

  • Usage/historical note on sacrament.

    December 6, 2016

  • "Thyme takes its name from the Greek verb 'to sacrifice' or 'to make a burnt offering.'"
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 233

    December 6, 2016

  • Usage/historical note on sacrament.

    December 6, 2016

  • Historical/usage note on sacrament.

    December 6, 2016

  • "... not only spices but many other Mediterranean aromatics served as sacraments before they were seasonings. Saffron, fennel, and coriander all appear in a sacred setting long before there are records of their secular use. Thyme takes its name from the Greek verb 'to sacrifice' or 'to make a burnt offering.' Writing in the fourth century B.C., Theophrastus believed that spices followed incense and locally available herbs to the altar and censer, and no one has been able to come up with a better explanation since. The Egyptians and other cultures of the ancient Near East made use of Arabian and Levantine aromatics such as frankincense, myrrh, balsam, and terebinth* since at least the third millennium B.C. The name of the principal Phoenician deity, Baal Hammon, means 'lord of the perfume altar'; a Sumerian incense stand dating to about 2500 B.C. is shaped in the form of a priest with incense on his head. Throughout the temples and shrines of the ancient Mediterranean the effect of smell was understood more in spiritual than in aesthetic terms. A sweet smell was a form of 'inarticulate prayer.'

    * Terebinth is obtained from Pistacia terebinthus, a tree widespread in the Near East, and the source of Chian turpentine."
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 233-34

    December 6, 2016

  • "Sailors and travelers carried portable incense burners known as thymiateria, often shaped in the form of figurines with a concave top; examples have been recovered from the wreck of the Lion Ship, excavated from the silt of Pisa harbor, where it sank early int he second century B.C."
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 229

    December 6, 2016

  • An epic list, which is linked to on pellitory, except it brings up a 404 page. :(

    December 6, 2016

  • Usage/historical note on pyrether.

    December 6, 2016

  • "'If you wish the woman to be inspired with a great desire to cohabit with you, take a little of cubebs, pyrether,* ginger and cinnamon, which you will have to masticate just before joining her; then ...'

    *An aromatic North African root, sometimes known as pellitory. It has a light aroma and a persistent, pungent taste."
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 222

    December 6, 2016

  • "The association" of spices with sexuality and seduction, dating from antiquity, "runs so deep as to have intruded into modern pop culture. In the late 1990s, the Spice Girls shot like a gaudy, squawking comet through the outer orbits of pop stardom before, in obedience to the Newtonian physics of celebrity, the acrimonious plummet back to Earth and bustup. Part of what made them spicy was ... their feisty sex appeal. Subliminally or otherwise, they honored a grand tradition. Here is the entry for 'spicy' in the Collins English Thesaurus: 'Aromatic, flavoursome, hot, piquant, pungent, savoury, seasoned, tangy, broad, hot, improper, indecorous, indelicate, off-colour, ribald, risqué, scandalous, sensational, suggestive, titillating, unseemly'--all in all, not a bad summary of the discussion at hand and the perfect epitaph, oddly enough, for the Spice Girls."
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 221

    December 5, 2016

  • "... the modern perfume industry, with its breathless promises of sophistication and seduction, remains a major consumer of spices. Calvin Klein's Obsession contains nutmeg and clove; Opium by Yves Saint Laurent contains pepper, and there are many other such examples. Ginger, mace, and cardamom are all common additives. If we are to take the advertising at face value, spices remain as seductive as they ever were, even if we are less conscious of the fact.... In New York City there is a spice store called Aphrodisia--the name says it all."
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 221

    December 5, 2016

  • "As the Song of Songs was to the poet, so this passage was to the predicant: as spices were the food of love, so were they tinder for the jeremiad. In an age saturated in scripture and not short of apocalyptic instincts of its own, it was hard, if not impossible, to look on them as innocent."
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 217

    December 5, 2016

  • "As angels have wings and saints haloes, so the pagan gods of love had cinnamon."
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 209

    December 5, 2016

  • "Spices had the added attraction of unrivaled potency and durability, for which reason they were critical ingredients for the perfumer, and they remained so until the equation was transformed with the invention of distillation and then the advent of the chemical age."
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 209

    See also maceration for methods used by perfumers in antiquity.

    December 5, 2016

  • Usage/historical note on maceration.

    December 5, 2016

  • "Ancient perfumes and unguents were a good deal weaker than their modern equivalents, there being no way of isolating the powerful essential oils that enable modern perfumes to pack such a punch, based on alcohol, synthetic chemicals, and essential oils isolated by the process of distillation. In their place, the ancient perfumer obtained his perfumes by soaking aromatics in fat or oil, which was then gently heated (maceration) or left to sit unheated (enfleurage). The end product was commonly worn on clothes and hair or, alternatively, poured onto a brazier and burned (the modern word itself derives from the Latin per fumum, 'through the smoke')."
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 208-9

    December 5, 2016

  • "Pliny mentions one choice perfume grandiloquently known as 'The Royal Unguent of the Kings of Parthia," a suitably regal mix of many exotic and expensive ingredients, some of which defy identification, but including cinnamon, cardamom, cassia, calamus, ginger grass, saffron, marjoram, and honey."
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 207-8

    December 5, 2016

  • "In Lysistrata by Aristophanes (ca. 447 - ca. 385 B.C.), the comedy of a sex strike by the women of Athens, Myrrhine (her name means "Little Myrtle") drives her frustrated husband wild with desire with the help of a fragrant ointment."
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 205

    December 5, 2016

  • "Egypt in particular was renowned for its scents, many of which found their way to the Athenian myropoleion, a part of the market dedicated to the purpose. Besides Peron's cinnamon formula, several of their brand names survive, among them Psagda and Megallus, each named after a celebrated parfumier."
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 207

    December 5, 2016

  • "When the Eastern spices arrived, they slotted right in. They were certainly there by the fourth century, when Theophrastus, who wrote an entire book on the subject of perfumes, says that the necessary aromatics came from either India or Arabia, mentioning cassia, cinnamon, and cardamom by name. Other ingredients were nearer to hand, such as balsam of Mecca, storax, saffron, marjoram, and myrrh....

    * Storax is the aromatic resin obtained from the shrub Styrax officinalis, native to eastern Europe and Asia Minor. It was widely used in ancient incense."
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 206

    December 5, 2016

  • Usage/historical note (sorta) can be found on Archithrenius.

    December 3, 2016

  • Usage/historical note can be found on Archithrenius.

    December 3, 2016

  • "... in John of Hauteville's satirical twelfth-century poem Archithrenius, or The Arch-weeper, it is both the Eastern origins and the erotic quality of spices that single them out for condemnation. As the teary hero goes on his cheerless way to the abode of Gluttony, he meets with the belly worshippers or ventricolae, who egg on their lasciviousness with a diet of hot seasonings, their greed driving them beyond the Meridian to seek the spices of the Orient, ever searching for more novel delicacies from around the world and condiments that nourish the libido. (What would the arch-weeper have made of a curry house?)"
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 196

    December 3, 2016

  • Very interesting usage/historical note relevant to crappuccino can be found on that page. Also on Coca-Cola.

    Also, "... The reference may be to a historical figure, the abbot of Broussin, a nutmeg addict who was mocked for putting the spice in all his sauces. Having long since anesthetized his taste buds with excessive spice, he was always in need of a stronger flavor that his jaded palate could recognize."
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 300

    December 3, 2016

  • "Faith in the exotic tended to shade into faith in the out-and-out revolting, as was revealed in a curious witchcraft trial in the Danish town of Naestved in 1619. The accused, a young man, was charged with having taught a friend of his the trick of seducing a young woman with nutmeg. The idea was to eat an entire nutmeg and wait for it to reemerge at the other end, whereupon the semidigested nutmeg was grated into a glass of beer or wine, which was in turn administered to the unsuspecting object of the nutmeg crapper's affections. So primed, she was powerless to resist and likely, as the judge ruled, to do 'whatever he might desire.' She might even pay for the privilege. In the case in question the judge found that by such foul and insidious means the accused had robbed a young woman not only of her virtue but of the cash she had laid down for the unhappy experience."
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 199.

    This really goes with the definition/explanation in the comments on crappucino, but since I spelled the damn thing wrong there (a hundred or so years ago), I thought I'd place it here instead.

    December 3, 2016

  • Usage/historical note on Vitex agnus-castus.

    December 3, 2016

  • Usage/historical note on Vitex agnus-castus.

    December 3, 2016

  • "... a native Mediterranean aromatic known as agnus castus, Vitex agnus-castus. Classed as powerfully cold and dry, it was used by monks to incline their bodies and thoughts away from the flesh. Serapion, the hugely influential fourth-century monk and companion of the Egyptian hermit Saint Antony, one of the founding fathers of Christian monasticism, dubbed the plant 'monk's pepper,' because, as one medieval authority phrased it, 'it makes men as chaste as lambs.' To this day the plant is known as 'Monk's Pepper Tree.'"
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 197-198

    December 3, 2016

  • Usage/historical note on this species' connection with the pandemic of 1348 can be found on bubonic plague.

    December 3, 2016

  • "In an age of limited horizons, the most likely culprit for introducing to Europe the pandemic of 1348 was none other than the same long-distance trade that brought spice from the East. First documented in China in the 1320s, bubonic plague is caused by a bacterium transmitted by the bite of a flea that has drunk the blood of an infected black rat, Rattus rattus. Originally a native of Southeast Asia, the Asian rat was probably first introduced to Europe by the Romans' seaborne commerce with India: a Roman rat was found at a site in London's Fenchurch Street dating from the fourth century. (The brown or Norwegian rat, which does not carry the fleas that transmit the plague bacillus, was not introduced into the greater part of western Europe before the eighteenth century. Its gradual supplanting of the black rat may explain the disappearance of the plague from Europe at much the same time.) Rattus rattus could not cross the deserts, but it could hitch a ride on the transoceanic pepper ships."
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 180-181

    December 3, 2016

  • "Spices also had the merit of aesthetic appeal, being sufficiently strong and penetrating to exclude the odors of the medieval townscape, which was, at the best of times, a malodorous place; at times the crowded and filthy streets of hte cramped medieval cities must have smelled, to borrow a phrase from Melville, 'like the left wing of the day of judgment.' London was notoriously mephitic: in 1275, the White Friars who dwelt by the River Fleet in London complained to the king that the river's 'putrid exhalations ... overcame even the frankincense used in the services and had caused the death of many brethren.' The public privy of Ludgate was reported to smell so vilely that it 'rottith the stone wallys.'"
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 178-179

    December 3, 2016

  • "One of the more intriguing spices mentioned in the Hebrew Bible is <i>shelet</i>, which Greek translators rendered as <i>onyx</i>, meaning 'claw' or 'nail'--was this the clove? It is a suggestive coincidence that in practically every major language group, East or West, the name for the spice means 'nail.'"

    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 243n

    Another usage/historical note, this one re: cloves treating smallpox, can be found on inoculation.

    December 3, 2016

  • Historical/usage note re: how cloves were used to treat smallpox, on inoculation.

    December 3, 2016

  • Usage/historical note can be found on inoculation.

    December 3, 2016

  • "In India the Uzbek polymath al-Biruni (973-1048) witnessed the use of cloves against smallpox, which the Indians took for an airborne malaise from the land of Lanka across the sea:

    "'The Hindus who are the neighbors of those regions believe that the small-pox is a wind blowing from the island of Lanka toward the continent to carry off souls. According to one report, some men warn people beforehand of the blowing of this wind, and can exactly tell at what times it will reach the different parts of the country. After the small-pox has broken out, they recognize from certain signs whether it is virulent or not. Against the virulent small-pox they use a method of treatment by which they destroy only one single limb of the body, but do not kill. They use as medicine cloves, which they give to the patient to drink, together with gold-dust; and, besides, the males tie the cloves, which are similar to date-kernels, to their necks. If these precautions are taken, perhaps nine people out of ten will be proof against this malady.'

    "Apart from what looks like a garbled account of inoculation--generally credited to China, around 1200 A.D., but not used in the West before the early eighteenth century--his account is a fairly representative diagnosis: an airborne illness called for an aromatic prescription."
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 176-177

    December 3, 2016

  • See usage/historical note on pomander, the English word that comes from this French phrase meaning "apple of amber".

    December 2, 2016

  • "One of the most esteemed defenses (against plague) was the pomander, from Old French pome d'embre or apple of amber, a lump of amber or ambergris aromatized with a mixture of spices so as 'to be worne against foule stinkyng aire,' as one authority phrased it. At the time of the great fourteenth-century outbreak of the Black Death, a pomander generally consisted of a soft, resinous substance--wax was the most common--bound together, studded, or sprinkled with spices, and enclosed within a portable metal or china container worn around the neck or attached to a belt or wrist. Simpler variants of the same were made from a hollowed-out piece of fruit. One popular seventeenth-century remedy was 'a good Sivill Orenge stuck with cloves,' long considered a defense against the pestilence but now downgraded to a folksy form of air freshener."
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 179

    December 2, 2016

  • What do arugula and chickpeas have in common? See usage/historical note on page accidia.

    December 2, 2016

  • If you are interested in arugula, you really, really, really should read the usage/historical note on the page accidia. Really.

    December 2, 2016

  • "To Constantine the African (more on him in comment on the page electuary), the top hot-and-wet sperm and libido boosters were pepper, pine nuts, egg yolks, warm meats, brain, and arugula.* Chickpeas were another perennial favorite.

    *John Davenport (1789-1877) relates the salutary tale of an abbot whose monks suffered from that bane of medieval monastic life known as accidia, a combination of boredom, lassitude, and laziness conventionally but inadequately translated as 'sloth.' Hoping to stir them from their idleness, he fed them arugula, succeeding so well that they promptly abandoned the cloister for the brothel."
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 192

    December 2, 2016

  • Usage/historical note on spiced wine. See also different varieties of spiced wine: hippocras, clarry, vernage.

    December 2, 2016

  • "Spiced wines were a common feature of the medieval wedding, and it is a reasonable surmise that there was more to the combination of nuptials, wine, and spice than the desire to celebrate in style. Spiced wine, or piment, was, according to the hymnographer Marbode de Rennes (1035-1123), the voluptuary's drink of choice."
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 188

    Other usage/historical notes on hippocras, clarry, and who knows where else.

    December 2, 2016

  • "He drinks hippocras, clarry, and vernage*
    Hot spices to kindle his lust,
    And many an electuary full fine,
    Such as the accursed monk, damned Constantine,
    Has written in his book,
    De Coitu--
    To eat them all he did not eschew.

    ... Spices were among the premier aphrodisiacs of the day, not least thanks to the author January turned to for his stimulants, 'damned Constantine.' More conventionally known as Constantine the African (ca. 1020-1087), Chaucer's 'cursed monk' was in fact one of the major intellectual figures of the age, his work occupying a central place in the canon of medical studies in European universities until the end of the fifteenth century."

    "*Strong spiced and sweetened wines."
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 184

    December 2, 2016

  • Also an interesting usage on electuary.

    December 2, 2016

  • Usage/historical note on electuary.

    December 2, 2016

  • "Around the same time a plan of the Swiss Benedictine monastery of Saint Gall featured a cupboard for storing spices (armarium pigmentorum) attached to the doctor's quarters, its role to complement the locally grown herbs supplied by the garden."
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 161

    December 2, 2016

  • Interesting historical note/usage on theriac.

    December 2, 2016

  • "The best-known medieval medicines, and the lion's share of the spices, belonged to the rich. ... The poor man's theriac, according to Arnald de Vilanova, was garlic. By the twelfth century, the herb-spice differential seems to have been something of a cliché. John of Salisbury (ca. 1110-1180) cites 'an old proverb' that obtained 'among courtiers and physicians everywhere': In return for words we use mountain herbs; For things of value, spices and drugs.'"

    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 173

    December 2, 2016

  • Usage/historical note can be found on theriac.

    December 2, 2016

  • "It is a recurrent motif of the vitae (Lives of the Saints) to find the miracle-working saint having no need of spices, much to the astonishment and chagrin of the spice-reliant doctors. The plot is repeated time and again, the holy man or woman healing an illness that has defeated even the spices of the pigmentarius. ... A little more than a century before Bede's day, when Gregory of Tours sought a metaphor for divine intercession, he could think of none more apt than theriac, a legendary mix of herbs and spices reported to have saved the life of Mithridates VI, a king of Pontus in northern Anatolia who died in 63 B.C.* A hypochondriac, Mithridates took this secret mix every day, and so effective did it prove that when he tried to poison himself his most potent toxins were utterly nullified...

    " * The origin, incidentally, of the modern 'treacle.'"
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 162

    December 2, 2016

  • "Odd as the idea might seem, then, from the ancient world and through the Middle Ages spices smelled not only of other worlds but of worlds to come. In some unrecoverable sense, just as the wealthy dead smelled of spices, so spices smelled of death. The overlap was particularly pronounced in Latin, since the vocabulary was the same. To prepare a corpse for burial was literally to 'season' or 'spice' it, condire, whence condimentum, or seasoning. Moreover, the materials used on the embalmed were standard kitchen seasonings."
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 157-158

    December 2, 2016

  • "The appeal probably had much to do with the odor of sanctity that by now was a commonplace of the religiosity of medieval Christendom, the spices being seen as proof of God's favor, symbolic evidence of special status. To lie among spices was to lie in the odor of the saints."
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 153

    December 2, 2016

  • Interesting usage/historical note on cinnamon used in burial rites in ancient Rome can be found on frankincense.

    Another one, unrelated (obviously) to burial rites, on Coca-Cola.

    December 2, 2016

  • "On the demise of the dictator Sulla in 79 B.C., after a slow and hideous death caused by worms devouring his flesh, an effigy of cinnamon was constructed in his image. 'It is said that the women contributed such a vast bulk of spices for the interment that, aside from what was carried on two hundred and ten litters, there was enough to make a large figure of Sulla, and that an image of a lictor (staff bearer) was molded from expensive frankincense and cinnamon.'"

    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 148

    Another usage/historical note can be found on mephitic.

    December 2, 2016

  • "The Egyptians were not alone in sending their dead to an aromatic grave. Although customs varied from one time and place to another, spices, resins, flowers, and aromatics were used by all the major cultures of antiquity, whether the body was mummified, buried, or incinerated.*

    " * The Mayans used allspice in embalming."
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 148

    December 2, 2016

  • "The Egyptians were not alone in sending their dead to an aromatic grave. Although customs varied from one time and place to another, spices, resins, flowers, and aromatics were used by all the major cultures of antiquity, whether the body was mummified, buried, or incinerated.*

    " * The Mayans used allspice in embalming."
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 148

    More on spices used in burial can be found on frankincense and saints.

    December 2, 2016

  • Interesting historical note/usage on bdellium.

    December 2, 2016

  • "The use of myrrh, balsam, and bdellium* is documented from the early third millennium B.C. When Howard Carter examined the mummy of Tutankhamen, interred almost exactly a century earlier than Ramses, he found that the corpse had been treated with coriander and resins.

    " * Bdellium is a gum resin that oozes from one of several shrubs of the genus Commiphora. The dried product resembles impure myrrh."
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 147

    December 2, 2016

  • "In London at the start of the third millennium, the best places to shop for spice tend to be in the poorer, immigrant areas of the city, whereas seven hundred years ago it was the exact reverse, with the business addresses of London's grocers and spicers concentrated in the (then) well-off areas of the City. Spice could be bought from a number of retailers in the wealthy parishes of Saint Pancras, Saint Benet's Sherehog, Milk Street, and Saint Mary-le-Bow; but no spicer saw fit to set up shop in the poorer area of Farringdon. Spices went where the money was."
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 136

    December 2, 2016

  • "In England in 1284, a pound of mace cost 4 s. 7 d., a sum that could also buy three sheep--a whopping outlay for even the better-off peasantry. At much the same time, a pound of nutmeg would buy half a cow."
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 136

    December 2, 2016

  • "In England in 1284, a pound of mace cost 4 s. 7 d., a sum that could also buy three sheep--a whopping outlay for even the better-off peasantry. At much the same time, a pound of nutmeg would buy half a cow."
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 136

    December 2, 2016

  • "A rare exception to the generally upper-class tenor of medieval cookery books is the mid-fifteenth-century Liber cure cocorum, written for those who could afford to practice only economical 'petecure,' literally 'small cooking.'* The preface outlines the principles of cooking on a budget: 'This craft is set forth for poor men, that may not have spicery as they would like.' The history of cooking is the history of class cooking."

    "* from the Old French petite queuerie."
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 136

    December 2, 2016

  • "One English culinary manuscripts gives details for the preparation of three variants of hippocras, specifying different quantities of spice according to rank and budget: pro rege, pro domino, and, with the least spice of all, pro populo."
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 135

    December 2, 2016

  • Interesting historical note on Rameses II can be found on peppercorn.

    December 2, 2016

  • "The first known consumer of pepper on whom we can hang a name did not use his spice to season his dinner, for he was long past any pleasures of the flesh. He was, in fact, a corpse: the royal skin and bones of Rameses II, arguably the greatest of Egypt's pharoahs, up whose large, bent nose a couple of peppercorns were inserted not long after his death on July 12, 1224 B.C.

    "The upper reaches of the pharoah's nose mark the beginning, for the time being, of one of the most important chapters in the history of spice."
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 145

    December 2, 2016

  • Usage/historical note on poivre chaut.

    December 2, 2016

  • Usage/historical note on poivre chaut.

    December 2, 2016

  • Usage/historical note on poivre chaut.

    December 2, 2016

  • Usage/historical note on poivre chaut.

    December 2, 2016

  • "Of the various sauces, one of the oldest and most popular was black pepper sauce, in which the sharpness of pepper was offset by bread crumbs and vinegar. There was a hotter variant called poivre chaut, hot pepper, and another called poivre aigret, sour pepper, with verjuice and wild apples.... Another perennial favorite, often served with roasted poultry, known as galantyne, was made from bread crumbs, ginger, galangal, sugar, claret, and vinegar." ... One of the most popular sauces across the breadth of medieval Europe was camelyne, so called for its tawny camel color, the keynotes of which were cinnamon, vinegar, garlic, and ginger, mixed with bread crumbs and occasionally raisins. (The name was doubly apt, for much of the cinnamon so consumed would have done time on a camel's back while in transit through Arabia.)"
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 112-113

    December 2, 2016

  • "(The beauty of the pig, so to speak, and the main reason behind its importance to the medieval diet, was that unlike sheep or cows it could be left to fend for itself, foraging on chestnuts and waste, whether in town or country; but even for pigs there was not enough food to go around through the lean months.)"
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 109

    Additional text, in which this parenthetical is placed, can be found in a comment on November.

    December 2, 2016

  • Interesting usage/historical note can be found in comment on November.

    December 2, 2016

  • "Medieval Europe lacked most of the high-yielding grass and root crops that are today used to feed herds through the winter and enable a year-round supply of fresh meat--the turnip, for instance, was still considered a garden vegetable. ... Only the largest and wealthiest households had either the pasture to keep their herds alive or the storage space to put aside sufficient hay to see them through the winter.

    "For all those who lacked this luxury, as soon as the frosts moved in and the pasture died off, a good proportion of the herd had to be slaughtered. Traditionally, the seasonal killing was set for Martinmas, or November 11--for which reason the Anglo-Saxon name for November was 'Blood Month.' What could not be eaten within a few days had to be salted down..."
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 109-110

    (More can be found on spices.)

    December 2, 2016

  • Interesting usage/historical note on spices.

    December 2, 2016

  • "Medieval Europeans were no more hardened to the taste of putrid meat and fish than we are. The risk of unsafe ingredients was not taken lightly, and by the later Middle Ages municipal authorities across Europe were taking steps to crack down on sellers of bad meat and fish with harsh penalties. In comparison, the modern health inspector is a toothless creature. The pillory was primarily a punishment for crimes committed in the marketplace. ... Anyone willing to believe that medieval Europe lived on a diet of spiced and rancid meat has never tried to cover the taste of advanced decomposition with spices.

    "There were, however, other flavors that spices helped surmount. The offending taste was not of putrefaction but of salt, as mentioned earlier. ... What could not be eaten within a few days had to be salted down, with the result that most if not all the meat eaten from November through the spring was dry, chewy, and salty, requiring soaking and prolonged cooking to alleviate the taste. ... The one good word Rabelais can find for salted meat is that it worked up a fearsome thirst, the better to throw down the wine."
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 109-110

    December 2, 2016

  • See usage, explanation, etc. in comment on clarry.

    December 2, 2016

  • "With the advent of the technology of the bottle and cork in the sixteenth century, the need for spices in wine was abruptly less pressing. Winemaking techniques and the quality of the end result improved. Yet of all of spices' uses in the medieval world, spiced wines were perhaps the most enduring, long outlansting the Middle Ages. Samuel Pepys (1633-1703) enjoyed an occasional glass of hippocras; it even gets a mention in Der Rosenkavalier. Neither clarry nor hippocras has ever quite disappeared, ultimately evolving into the vermouth, glögg, and mulled wine of today--still one of the best ways of dealing with a red on the turn, short of pouring it down the sink.

    "Spiced ale, on the other hand, has gone the way of the crossbow and the codpiece. In the Middle Ages, ale really was good for you--comparatively speaking. It was certainly better than the available water, an observation traditionally credited to Saint Arnulphus, bishop of Soissons and abbot of the Benedictine foundation of Oudenbourg, who died in 1087. Arnulphus is the patron saint of brewers, an acknowledgement of his realization that heavy ale drinkers were less afflicted by epidemics than were the rest of the population. Particularly in Europe's densely crowded towns, with their poor drainage and rudimentary public hygiene, untreated water was a daily reality and an extremely effective vector of infection. Though the effect of contaminated water was only dimly appreciated, the medical theory of the day added intellectual respectability to the wariness of water, classing it as wet and cooling and therefore potentially inimical to the body's natural balance of moderate warmth and moisture.... Given that the ale drinker was exposed to fewer microbiological nasties, Arnulphus's bias against water made perfect sense. The upshot was that ale was consumed in prodigious quantities."

    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 116-117

    December 2, 2016

  • Usage notes in comments on speciarius and spicer.

    December 2, 2016

  • See another interesting usage on speciarius.

    "In the medieval mind spices and medicines were effectively one and the same. Not all drugs were spices, but all spices were drugs. The identity was reflected in vocabulary: the Late Latin term for spices, (pigmenta) was practically synonymous with medicines, and so it remained through the Middle Ages. Apothecary and spicer were effectively one and the same: 'one who has at hand for sale aromatic spices and all manner of things needful in medicine,' in the words of a fourteenth-century manuscript at Chartres Cathedral. The apothecary took his name from the Greek term for a warehouse where high-value goods such as spices were stored. Even today one Italian word for pharmacist is speziale. He is the direct descendant of the medieval spicer (speciarius), whose wares were among the most sought after and esteemed medicines of the age."

    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 159

    December 2, 2016

  • "In wealthier households, the task of juggling these considerations fell to the speciarius, or spicer. Occupying a role midway between pharmacist and in-house health consultant, the spicer was considered an indispensable employee. In 1317, the household of the French king found room (or cash) for only four officers of his chamber: a barber, a tailor, a taster, and a spicer."
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 125

    December 2, 2016

  • Usage and recipe (of a sort) in comment on spiced ale and more on clarry.

    December 2, 2016

  • "This was where spices came, yet again, to the rescue. The medieval popularity of nutmeg owed much to ale's perishability: as the clove and cinnamon were to wine, so the nutmeg was to ale--the context of Chaucer's reference to 'notemuge to putte in ale.' Here too, the medieval palate seems to have developed a virtue out of necessity, acquiring a taste for spiced ale to the point that the addition of spice became expected, even preferred; the spice was used 'wheither it (the ale) be moyste (fresh) or stale,' as Chaucer puts it. ... Some of these spiced ales survived until relatively recently, such as 'Stingo,' a variety of pepper-flavored beer popular in London in the eighteenth century. Russian writers of the nineteenth century mention sbiten', a spiced mead flavored with cardamom and nutmeg."
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 118

    Another usage/historical note can be found in a comment on clarry.

    December 2, 2016

  • "Writing of the popular clove-flavored wine known as gariofilatum, John of Trevisa summarized the attractions of the spices: 'The virtue of the spices and herbs changes and amends the wine, imparting thereto a singular virtue, rendering it both healthy and pleasant at the same time ... for the virtue of the spices preserves and keeps wines that would otherwise soon go off.'"
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 116

    December 2, 2016

  • "To a far greater extent than with solid foods, their (spices) use was dictated by a need to preserve against corruption, or at least cover its taste. ... Taken neat, medieval wine could be a harrowing experience, and the problem of foul wine was sufficiently common to inspire all kinds of complaints, as with the man-strangling 'hard, green and faithless' wines of the poet Guiot de Vaucresson. ... Geffroi de Waterford said of the variety known as vernache that it 'tickles without hurting'--faint praise indeed."
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 114

    December 2, 2016

  • "This basic template (recipe in comment on hippocras) admitted almost infinite variation. Hippocras could also be made with cloves and nutmeg; another variant called for mace and cardamom. Clarry was much the same as hippocras, the chief difference (though not necessarily) being the use of honey in place of sugar."
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 114

    December 2, 2016

  • Usage note on hippocras.

    December 2, 2016

  • "The methods of preparing spiced wine remained much the same throughout the Middle Ages. The basic technique was to mix and grind a variety of spices, which were then added to the wine, red or white, which was then sweetened with sugar or honey and finally filtered through a bag, bladder, or cloth. The latter was known as 'Hippocrates's sleeve,' hence the wine's name, 'hippocras.' A late fourteenth-century book of household management gives the following instructions:

    'To make powdered hippocras, take a quarter of very fine cinnamon selected by tasting it, and half a quarter of fine flour of cinnamon, an ounce of selected string ginger (gingembre de mesche), fine and white, and an ounce of grain (of paradise), a sixth of nutmegs and galangal together, and grind them all together. And when you would make your hippocras, take a good half ounce of this powder and two quarters of sugar and mix them with a quart of wine, by Paris measure.'"
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 113-114

    Additional note(s) on clarry.

    December 2, 2016

  • Usage and note on word/culinary origins can be found on gingembras.

    December 2, 2016

  • Usage note in comment on gingembras.

    December 2, 2016

  • "Typically, these after-dinner spices were candied with sugar and fruit, like the Provencal orengat, fine slices of orange left to soak in sugar syrup for a week or so before being boiled in water, sweetened with honey, and finally cooked with ginger. The convention endured well beyond the medieval period, the candied and jellied fruits served today its direct descendants. Another survivor is gingerbread, which takes its name from the Middle English "gingembras," originally a composition of ginger and other spices. The modern 'bread' bears little resemblance to the original, which was more of a stodgy paste."
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 113

    December 2, 2016

  • "To follow there were desserts such as frumenty, a sweet porridge of wheat boiled in milk and spices, and sugary confections of spices and dried fruits, washed down with spiced wine and ale..."
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 105

    December 2, 2016

  • "Around this time guilds of spicers and pepperers began to crop up across the major towns of Europe. The speciarius became an increasingly common figure on the urban scene; by the thirteenth century he was part of the mercantile establishment. In Oxford in 1264, the shop of one William the Spicer was burned by boisterous students. In London, the Company of the Grocers is still in existence, having grown out of the older guild of the Pepperers; their coat of arms has nine cloves at its center. Guilds such as these were the remote ancestors of the supermarkets of the twenty-first century."
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 103

    December 2, 2016

  • "The medieval mystic dreamed of spices in Paradise; the gourmand, in Cockayne. Indeed, for the true gourmand, Cockayne was Paradise. For as Paradise soothed and delighted the weary spirit, so Cockayne was tailor-made for the empty or, for that matter, the merely greedy stomach. Here the only virtues were gluttony, leisure, and pleasure, the only vices exertion and care. Doing nothing earned a salary, work was penalized, women were rewarded for sleeping around. A decent fart earned half a crown. Even in church the truest form of worship was to stuff oneself. Conveniently, the church itself was edible, its walls made of pastry, fish, and meat and buttressed with puddings."
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 98

    December 2, 2016

  • "Yet if spices were becoming more familiar with every year, it was a familiarity that rested on a network of trade and travel that few could have comprehended. The reality was scarcely less wonderful than the fantasies of Paradise and Cockayne. A Rhineland nobleman int he eleventh century could order furs from Siberia, spices and silks from Byzantium and the Islamic world beyond, pepper from India, ginger from China, and nutmeg and clove from the Moluccas. Individuals such as Nahray ibn Nissim, a Tuinisan Jew settled in Egypt, were dealing in products as diverse as Spanish tin and coral, Moroccan antimony, Eastern spices, Armenian cloths, rhubarb from Tibet, and spikenard from Nepal. By this stage the trading guild known as the Karimis, a group of Jewish spice merchants based in Cairo, had their agents scattered across the Old World, from China in the east to Mali in the west."
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 101-102

    December 2, 2016

  • "Cubeb, or 'tailed' pepper, Piper cubeba,, is a pepper look-alike native to the Indonesian archipelago, popular in medieval times as a seasoning, medicine, and aphrodisiac."
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 98n.

    December 2, 2016

  • "History was repeating itself: a millennium after Rome had first sent its fleets to India and its moralizers had fretted whether spices were corroding its once steely ethics, the same concerns were resurfacing. Just as medieval Europe lived in the long shadow cast by Rome, drawing its water from still-functioning aqueducts and traveling its worn but still-workable roads, conducting its diplomacy and theology in Rome's language, so with its cuisine. The mingled fascination and revulsion spices provoked, the intertwining of taste and distaste, wound back in time as far as the Caesars."
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 97.

    December 2, 2016

  • "The reputation of spices as luxuries confined to kings and great noblemen would begin to change, at a glacier pace, only as the millennium drew to a close. After a flurry of references around the time of Charlemagne, followed by a near century of silence, the trade returned to western Europe on a more solid basis toward the end of the ninth century.

    "Driving this increased consumption was a slow stirring of Europe's economy and the steady growth of its population. The revival of the metallurgy and textile industries in central and western Europe and the opening of silver mines in Germany's Harz Mountains went some way to remedying a chronic shortage of the precious metals needed to pay for high-value imports from the East. Increased surpluses in the hands of an emergent landowning class--kings and local strongmen, bishops and monasteries--brought with them a new level of demand for luxuries and the trappings of wealth.

    "Meeting this demand brought about one of the pivotal developments in European history. Through trade and travel Europe was exposed to a wider world from which it had been effectively isolated for centuries; and where goods and money flowed, books, people, and ideas followed. Exotic and expensive luxuries were, after piety and war, the chief expenses of the aristocracy. The trade that supplied them sparked a whole 'complex of activities'--economic, political, geographic, and technical--whose effects are still with us. Slowly, surely, Western Christendom developed from a sheltered, isolated backwater into an increasingly confident, assertive culture."
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 94-95.

    December 2, 2016

  • "Via these two writers the Roman kitchen lived on in a strange half life in the halls of the early medieval nobility. Indeed, in one sense both Anthimus and Vinidarius represented an advance on Roman times, since they were aware of the clove, a spice apparently unknown to Apicius. That they were was due to the efforts of unknown others, the crews and merchants of the Arab dhows, Malay outriggers, and Chinese junks pushing east, many thousands of miles away, to the five tiny volcanic islands where the spice grew. By such obscure means the clove appeared in European cuisine the best part of a millennium before any European source makes mention of the Moluccas."
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 89

    December 2, 2016

  • Historical note about the word origins in comment on spicarium.

    December 2, 2016

  • Historical note about the word origins in comment on spicarium.

    December 2, 2016

  • Historical note about the word origins in comment on spicarium.

    December 2, 2016

  • Historical note about the word origins in comment on spicarium.

    December 2, 2016

  • "The sixth-century laws of the Franks, Visigoths, and Alamanni all mention a spicarium, a warehouse where high-value goods were stored. By this route the word entered the ferment of Late Latin and Germanic dialects that in turn evolved into today's Romance languages. Hence, in short, the terminology that persists into the third millennium, at root unchanged since late antiquity: Spanish especia, Portuguese especiaria, French épice, Italian spezia."
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 87

    December 2, 2016

  • Usage note in comment on cursus publicus.

    December 2, 2016

  • "Once Christianity became the official religion of the empire, senior churchmen had access to the cursus publicus, or government post, the imperial network of inns and warehouses supplying food, transport, and accommodation to all senior officials traveling on state business. A warrant granting access to the cursus survives from A.D. 314, addressed to three bishops en route to a church council at Arles. When they arrived at an inn along the route, the bishops could expect to be supplied with lodging, horses, carriages, bread, oil, chicken, eggs, vegetables, beef, pigs, sheep, lamb, geese, pheasants, garum, cumin, dates, almonds, salt, vinegar, and honey, along with an impressive array of spices: pepper, cloves, cinnamon, spikenard, costus, and mastic."
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 84

    December 2, 2016

  • "The merits of the case need not detain us. More interesting is the moralizing thrust, which forms one of the central themes of the history of spice from from the days of imperial Rome practically to our own day. All of these themes would in due course resurface--often, ironically enough, in the form of Christian polemics directed at the decadent empire. As spices were sought after, so too were they seen as an insidious cancer eating away at Rome's personal and public vigor. (How the eastern half of the empire, which survived until 1453, was any less dissolute or less addicted to Eastern luxury than the western half is unclear. With its access to the trans-Eurasian caravan routes, there were more, not fewer, spices in Byzantium.) In this view it was not the barbarians or even the lead pipes but all that spice that caused the fall of Rome."
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 83

    December 2, 2016

  • "So it was that spices failed the moralists' checklist of acceptability on all counts. They were expensive, enfeebling, Eastern, effeminizing. And as if this were not enough, they lacked any evident nutritional value, their sole apparent function being to stimulate the appetite into new excesses of gluttony. Pliny drew these themes together while affecting an air of lofty contempt for the taste for pepper then sweeping the empire...."
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 82.

    December 2, 2016

  • "The comedies of Plautus (ca. 254-184 BC) and Terence (ca. 195-ca. 159 BC) are sprinkled through with references to seasonings (condimenta), one of their stock characters the boastful cook who can reel off all the exotic flavors at his disposal: Cilician saffron, Egyptian coriander, Ethiopian cumin, and, most tempting of all, silphium of Cyrene. This North African aromatic, ultimately harvested to extinction, turned Roman gourmets weak at the knees.*

    *By the middle of the first century AD, Nero could acquire just one specimen, apparently the last. Thus to his many crimes must be added an extinction."
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 74

    November 30, 2016

  • Usage note in comment on spikenard.

    November 30, 2016

  • "To modern eyes the most striking use of spices is in a huge variety of sauces, both hot and cold, either cooked as an integral part of the dish or added after cooking. There was a sharp sauce to cut fat.... A digestive sauce helped the meat go down with the sharp-sweet combination.... There was a green sauce of pepper, cumin, caraway, spikenard*, 'all types of mixed green herbs,' dates, honey, vinegar, wine, garum, and oil...."

    *Spikenard, Nardostachys jatamansi, a scented grass from which an aromatic oil is extracted, is native to northern India."
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 70

    November 30, 2016

  • "... reliable information is in short supply. The one significant exception is the cookbook known by the unspectacular title of De re coquinaria, or Cookbook, the sole example of the genre to have survived from antiquity. Both the author and the date of composition are unknown, although traditionally it has been ascribed to a certain Apicius, a legendary gourmand of the first century AD."
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 69

    November 30, 2016

  • "Archaeology reinforces the impression of a widespread taste. Silver pepper pots (piperatoria) dating from the early imperial period onward have been found practically all over the Roman world: at Pompeii; to the south in Corfinium and Murmuro in Sicily; at Nicolaevo in Bulgaria; at Cahors, Arles-Trinquetaille, and Saint-Maur-de-Glanfeuil in France."
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 67

    Not to be confused with horrea piperataria.

    November 30, 2016

  • Not to be confused with piperatoria, or pepper pots.

    November 30, 2016

  • "Further along the Forum are the remains of the horrea piperataria, the spice stores constructed by the emperor Domitian in AD 92.... Two thousand years on, the assiduous visitor can still see the remains of Domitian's pepper warehouse, now no more than a few crumbling, shin-high walls and unimpressive piles of rubble.... They are, frankly, not much to look at, yet if there were such a thing, they would merit a mark on the culinary map of Europe. For the ruins of the horrea mark a beginning of sorts, as the oldest visible reminder of the serious advent of Eastern spices in European cuisine, the beachhead from which spices went on to conquer the palates of the Western world."
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 66

    November 30, 2016

  • "In the time of the emperor Trajan (ruled AD 98-117), spices, collectively known as the pipera, or peppers, were sold in a market built into the flank of the Quirinal Hill, of which several walls and arches are still standing. Until the end of the Middle Ages, the memory of the spices once sold here endured in the name of the ancient road still visible from the Via IV Novembre, like many other ancient names corrupted via the medium of medieval Latin but easily recognizable as the Via Biberatica."
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 65-66

    November 30, 2016

  • "A few weeks' sailing brought the pepper to Rome's great port at Ostia at the mouth of the Tiber. From here it was shipped upriver for distribution and sale in the city's 'Perfumers' Quarter,' the vicus unguentarius."
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 65

    November 30, 2016

  • Usage note in comment on Wadi Menih.

    November 30, 2016

  • "During the course of one such crossing a returnee from the Indian voyage carved graffiti that may still be read on the walls of the Wadi Menih: 'C. Numidius Eros made this in the 38th year of Caesar's {Augustus's} rule, returning from India in the month of Pamenoth.' In modern terms the year was 2 BC, the month of February or March, precisely the time when the fleets were expected back on the winds of the winter monsoon."
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 65

    November 30, 2016

  • Another usage note in comment on malabathron.

    November 30, 2016

  • "Costus is the aromatic root of Sassurea lappa, indigenous to Kashmir from which is extracted a powerful oil widely used in ancient perfumes and unguents."
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 61n.

    Another usage note in comment on malabathron and cursus publicus.

    November 30, 2016

  • "The Romans called at any one of nineteen ports in which, in the words of Periplus, 'great ships sail ... due to the vast quantities of pepper and malabathron.* ... There were spices from the north, costus and nard from the Himalayan foothills, and still others arriving from further east (including, quite possibly, Moluccan cloves and nutmeg, although there are questions over their identification in Rome before the fourth century AD). But it was pepper that was Malabar's chief attraction."

    "*Malabathron is cinnamon leaf, sometimes called 'Indian leaf,' prized on account of its potent aromatic oil. It is the leaf of one of several relatives of cinnamon native to India."
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 61

    November 30, 2016

  • "By the time of the geographer Strabo (ca. 63 BC-ca. AD 24) ... a fleet numbering some 120 ships set off annually for the year-long round-trip to India. The outlines of their journey are described in the document known as the Periplus, a pilot's guide to sailing in the Indian Ocean. Written by an anonymous Greek-speaking sailor sometime in the first century AD, the Periplus describes each step of the journey, identifying which harbors to stop in and which goods to acquire. His readers were the long-distance traders and trampers who serviced the ports and markets in what he calls the Erythraean Sea, by which he meant the huge expanse of water encompassing both the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean beyond."
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 59
    --

    November 30, 2016

  • Comment on pepper, and a mind-blowing historical note on coriander.

    November 30, 2016

  • Comment on pepper. Also usage/historical note on sacrament.

    November 30, 2016

  • Comment on pepper

    November 30, 2016

  • "Outside the Essex town of Saffron Walden, few would guess that in medieval times England was long Europe's greatest producer of saffron."
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 306

    Also see comment on pepper. Another usage/historical note on sacrament.

    November 30, 2016

  • Comment on pepper, and a mind-blowing (at least to me) historical note on coriander.

    November 30, 2016

  • "The Romans were not the first Europeans to eat pepper, but they were the first to do so with any regularity.... cuminsesame, coriander, oregano, and saffron are all mentioned in the Greek New Comedy of the fourth and third centuries B.C., but as yet no Eastern spices. It was not that the spices were unknown or that no one had yet thought to eat them, but rather than their exorbitant cost rendered them too precious for consumption by all but the very wealthy. There is a fragment by the Attic poet Antiphanes dating from the fourth century B.C.: 'If a man should bring home some pepper he's bought, they propose a motion that he be tortured as a spy.'--from which not much can be extracted other than a vague allusion to a high cost. Another fragment contains a recipe for an appetizer of pepper, salad leaf, sedge (a grassy flowering herb), and Egyptian perfume."
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 58-59.

    November 30, 2016

  • "Galangal is the root of Alpinia officinarum, a native of eastern Asia related to ginger, with a similar though slightly more astringent taste. Still popular in Thai cuisine, it was widely used in Europe in the Middle Ages."
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 46 (n)

    November 28, 2016

  • "Zedoary is an aromatic tuberous root of one of several species of Curcuma, related to ginger and turmeric. It was widely used in medieval medicines and cuisine."
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 47

    November 28, 2016

  • "With toeholds on the tiny islands of Ai and Run, James I was, for a time, proud to style himself 'King of England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Puloway and Puloroon.'"
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 37

    November 28, 2016

  • "... Taking into account the loss of four of the five ships, the advances paid to the crews, back pay for the survivors, and pensions and rewards for the pilot, it emerges that once the Victoria's 381 bags of cloves had been brought to market the expedition registered a modest net profit. For the investors it was a disappointment, paltry in comparison with the astronomical returns then being enjoyed by the Portuguese in the East; but it was a profit nonetheless. The conclusion must rate as one of accountancy's more dramatic moments: a small holdful of cloves funded the first circumnavigation of the globe."
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 36.

    November 28, 2016

  • Additional text on pages Ternate and Tidore.

    November 28, 2016

  • Additional text on pages Ternate and Tidore.

    November 28, 2016

  • Additional text on pages Ternate and Tidore.

    November 28, 2016

  • (Additional text on page for Ternate.)

    "... A mile across the water stands Tidore, Ternate's twin and historic rival, like Ternate a near-perfect volcanic cone, barely ten miles long, its altitude a mere nine meters less: 1,721 meters to Ternate's 1,730. From the summit it is possible to see the other three North Moluccan islands, marching off in a line to the south: Moti, Makian, and Bacan beyond. Together they represent a few dozen square miles in millions of miles of islands and ocean. At the start of the sixteenth century and for millennia beforehand, they were the source of each and every clove consumed on Earth."
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 29.

    November 28, 2016

  • "... For the spices they sought grew on only two tiny archipelagoes, each of which is barely larger than a speck on the best modern map. ... No such maps existed in 1500. To locate them among the sixteen thousand or so islands of the archipelago was to find a needle in a haystack.

    The northernmost of those specks is the home of the clove, in what is today the province of Malaku, in the easternmost extremity of Indonesia. Each of the five islands of the North Moluccas is little more than a volcanic cone jutting from the water, fringed by a thin strip of habitable land. From the air, they resemble a row of emerald witches' hats set down on the ocean. Ternate, one of the two principal islands, measures little more than six and a half miles across, tapering at the center to a point more than a mile high. In the phrase of the Elizabethan compiler Samuel Purchas, Ternate's volcano of Gamalama is 'angrie with Nature,' announcing its regular eruptions by spitting Cyclopean boulders into the atmosphere to an altitude of 10,000 meters, like the uncorking of a colossal champagne bottle...."
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 28-29

    November 28, 2016

  • "Dominating the strait of the same name between Sumatra and the Malay peninsula, Malacca was the richest port of the East, its prosperity dependent, like Singapore's today, on a position astride a natural bottleneck. Here Gujarati, Arab, Chinese, and Malay ships came to trade for spices and all the exotica of the East. (The name is probably derived from the Arabic malakat, "market.")."
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 26-27.

    November 28, 2016

  • "Long before then there had been visitors from Mesopotamia: pieces of teak--another attraction of the coast--were found by Leonard Wooley at Ur of the Chaldees, dating from around 600 B.C.*"

    "* Contacts may well have been still older. Excavations of Mesopotamian cities of the third millennium B.C. have turned up specimens of the Indian chank, a conch shell found only in the coastal waters of southern India and Sri Lanka."
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 16-17.

    November 28, 2016

  • "By the time of Christ, when da Gama's native Portugal was still a bleak and barren wilderness of Lusitanian tribesmen peering out on the sailless waters of the Atlantic, Greek mariners were arriving in Malabar in such numbers that one recherché Sanskrit name for pepper was yavanesta, "the passion of the Greeks.""
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 17.

    November 28, 2016

  • "The clove itself grows in clusters colored green through yellow, pink, and finally a deep, russet red. Timing, as with pepper, is everything, since the buds must be harvested before they overripen. For a few busy days of harvest the more nimble members of the community head to the treetops, beating the cloves from the branches with sticks. As the cloves shower down, they are gathered in nets and spread out to dry hardening and blackening in the sun and taking on the characteristic nail-like appearance that gives the spice its name, from the Latin clavus, "nail." The association is common to all major languages. The oldest certain reference to the clove dates from the Chinese Han period (206 BC to AD 220), when the ting-hiang or "nail spice" was used to freshen courtiers' breath in meetings with the emperor."
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), xxi-xxii.

    November 26, 2016

  • "Broadly, a spice is not an herb, understood to mean the aromatic, herbaceous, green parts of plants. Herbs are leafy, whereas spices are obtained from other parts of the plant: bark, root, flower bud, gums and resins, seed, fruit, or stigma. Herbs tend to grow in temperate climates, spices in the tropics. Historically, the implication was that a spice was far less readily obtainable than an herb--and far more expensive."
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), xix-xx.

    November 26, 2016

  • "It is only by viewing spices in terms of this complex overlap of desires and distaste that the intensity of the appetite can be adequately accounted for--why, in other words, the discoverers we learned about in Aldgate Primary School found themselves on foreign shores demanding cinnamon and pepper with the cannons and galleons of Christendom at their backs."
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), xvii.

    November 26, 2016

  • "There was a time not long ago when the more straitlaced residents of the Maine coast were liable to hear themselves dismissed as 'too pious to eat black pepper'--a recollection, perhaps subliminal, of a time when spices had been forbidden foods."
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), xvii.

    November 26, 2016

  • "This is a diverse and sprawling history spanning several millennia, beginning with a handful of cloves found in a charred ceramic vessel beneath the Syrian desert, where, in a small town in the banks of the Euphrates River, an individual by the name of Puzurum lost his house to a devastating fire. In cosmic terms, this was a minor event: a new house was built over the ruins of the old, and then another, and many others after that; life went on, and on, and on. In due course a team of archaeologists came to the dusty village that now stands atop the ruins where, from the packed and burned earth that had once been Puzurum's home, they extracted an archive of inscribed clay tablets. By a happy accident (for the archaeologists, if not for Puzurum), the blaze that destroyed the house had fired the friable clay tablets as hard as though they had been baked in a kiln, thereby ensuring their survival over thousands of years. A second fluke was a reference on one of the tablets to a local ruler known from other sources, one King Yadihk-Abu. His name dates the blaze, and the cloves, to within a few years of 1721 B.C."
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), xv.

    November 26, 2016

  • Ternate, Tidore, Moti, Makian, Bacan

    November 26, 2016

  • "We can still appreciate the nostalgia of John Masefield's poem 'Cargoes,' with its
    'Stately Spanish galleon coming from the Isthmus,
    Dipping through the Tropics by the palm-green shores,
    With a cargo of diamonds,
    Emeralds, amethysts,
    Topazes, and cinnamon, and gold moidores.'"
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), xiv.

    November 26, 2016

  • "Long before the invention of television or the romantic novelist there was the Song of Songs, with its lyrical evocation of the loved one as 'an orchard of pomegranates with all the choicest fruits, henna with nard, nard and saffron, calamus and cinnamon, with all trees of frankincense, myrrh, and aloes, with all chief spices.'"
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation _ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), xiii.

    November 26, 2016

  • "Long before the invention of television or the romantic novelist there was the Song of Songs, with its lyrical evocation of the loved one as 'an orchard of pomegranates with all the choicest fruits, henna with nard, nard and saffron, calamus and cinnamon, with all trees of frankincense, myrrh, and aloes, with all chief spices.'"
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation _ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), xiii.

    November 26, 2016

  • "Long before the invention of television or the romantic novelist there was the Song of Songs, with its lyrical evocation of the loved one as 'an orchard of pomegranates with all the choicest fruits, henna with nard, nard and saffron, calamus and cinnamon, with all trees of frankincense, myrrh, and aloes, with all chief spices.'"
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation _ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), xiii.

    November 26, 2016

  • On the plus side, after this traumatic incident probably 2 years ago, my son has never yet dropped any LEGO piece without immediately flinging himself to the floor to find it before the dog does.

    July 1, 2016

  • Quite likely the ugliest goddamn word ever. I hate it even more than I hate "moist."

    February 29, 2016

  • "There's something here," the officials told him. "We need to get at it." They said that it was ein Verdachtspunkt--a point of suspicion. Nobody used the word 'bomb.'" Adam Higginbotham, "There Are Still Thousands of Tons of Unexploded Bombs in Germany, Left Over from World War II," Smithsonian Magazine, Jan 2016 (http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/seventy-years-world-war-two-thousands-tons-unexploded-bombs-germany-180957680/?no-ist)

    February 17, 2016

  • Yes. I started the list sometime while reading book four. I know I'll go back and read them again, though I thought it would be sooner than now, intending to add the words I encounter there.

    May 25, 2015

  • I thought I was the only one who had dreams of meeting skipvia.

    September 16, 2014

  • Say! I forgot I had this one! :)

    June 24, 2014

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