History of Spice Notes

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History Of Spice
Egyptians used a lot of spices for cooking and stuffed mummies Burned cinnamon to hide stench
First recorded spice
Traded spice with India
Spice trade silk road
All roads go to fertile crescent
Arabs created a monopoly on the spice trade moving toward Europe Arabs Kept Europeans in the dark about the source of spices brought from India Created secrets and Myths
Might boil seeds so Europeans couldn’t grow it
Crusaders brought back new spices when they returned from battle which increased demand in Europe and had also developed a taste for spice increasing demand Spice Obsessions
Only attainable by ruling class
Emblems of power, gifts of state, heirlooms, currency
Pepper: worth its weight in gold, used as currency
Plagued by counterfeiting
Dried juniper berries (added to extend pepper)
Spice Obsession Theories
Theory 1: Used spice as preservative (pepper)
Not much evidence (salt works fine, local spices, afford fresh meat) Theory 2: Medicine
Theory 3: Medieval palate was dull
Theory 4: Trade Route Inflation
Middle man increase prices along silk road
End of Obsession (17th century)
Figure out you could grow spice
Markets were saturated
Moderate use of spice
New groups of flavoring: chili’s coffee tea sugar, chocolate Pepper- Piper nigrum
Most important spice economically
America is the worlds largest importer
Woody, perennial (3 seasons or more), tropical climbing vine No synchrony
Monsoon tropical forests of Malabar coats, SW India
Heat:
Alkaloid irritants: piperine
Inner core
Aroma:
From essential oil
Pericarp, outershell
Green pepper: comes from unripe berries (least hot)
Black pepper: fully grown and dried
White pepper: removed skin (hottest)

Cinnamon: Cinnamomum verum
Small evergreen tree in laurel family
(true Cinnamon Ceylon) Native to Sri Lanka
light flavor, fine texture, little Coumarin
2 yr old branches cut and fermented for 24 hrs
inner bark peeled and dried to form quills
Cassia (fake) evergreen native to India, Indonesia and Vietnam Closely related, mostly US
Thicker bark, whole tree used
Heavy flavor, coarse texture, high coumarin
Coumarin: appetite suppressing
Medical/ research: antioxidant, antimicrobial, type II diabetes Saffron: Crocus sativus
Iran major exporter, very expensive
Perennial bulb, 2 flowers per bulb, completely domesticated
3 stigmas, manual harvest
Egypt: Cleopatra, healers
Disappeared with Roman Empire but came back as plague remedy Afghanistan: poppy vs. Saffron

Flowers
Pollination: the transfer of pollen from anther to stigma
Cross pollination: Chance (pollen in air or water), or animals Mutualism, coevolution (trick or reward animals to pollenate) Egyptians thought divine power, blue lotus
Ancient Greece: floral wreaths
Ancient Rome: Floralia festival
Christian: flowers where “pure” no sex
Theophrastus: date palms pollinated by hand, proved reproduction Fall of roman empire, fall of flower, (great suspicion)
Gained popularity Europe 600 AD
Posies thought to ward off plague
Saint Thomas: plants have reproductive virtues
Linnaeus: taxonomic system based on flowers

Botanophilia
Victorian Age: women grew flowers
Sexual repression, low tolerance of crime, and strong social ethic Grew orchids (“a massive man-made extinction event”)
Epiphytic plant: plant grow on another plant (non-parasitic) Orchidmania
Biggest flowering plant family, highly evolved (very guarded against self-pollination), native species on every continent Grow slowly (7 yrs to mature and flower), long lived
Catasetum orchid inspired Darwins early book
Ghost orchid
Tulipmania
Extreme heterozygote
First cultivated around turkey then moved to Holland
Tulip breaking potyvirus (suppressed anthocyanin) (weakened plant) Spread by peach/potato aphid
Mutability, novelty, favored by royalty, bubonic plague era, scarcity/ demand 1635 shift, traded in future promissory notes
“Greater Fool Theory” (1637 crash)

Smell
1 0f 50 human genes in...
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