Title Dangerous Tastes: The Story Of Spices.
Book Condition Hardcover with dustjacket. Very good condition.
Edition First Printing of this edition.
Publisher University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles: 2000.
0520227891 / 9780520227897
Seller ID 74872X1
Spices and aromatics—the powerful, pleasurable, sensual ingredients used in foods, drinks, scented oils, perfumes, cosmetics, and drugs—have long been some of the most sought-after substances in the course of human history. In various forms, spices have served as appetizers, digestives, antiseptics, therapeutics, tonics, and aphrodisiacs. Dangerous Tastes explores the captivating history of spices and aromatics: the fascination that they have aroused in us, and the roads and seaways by which trade in spices has gradually grown. Andrew Dalby, who has gathered information from sources in many languages, explores each spice, interweaving its general history with the story of its discovery and various uses. Dalby concentrates on traditional spices that are still part of world trade: cinnamon, cloves, ginger, pepper, saffron, and chili. He also discusses aromatics that are now little used in food but still belong to the spice trade and to traditional medicine: frankincense, myrrh, aloes-wood, balsam of Mecca. In addition, Dalby considers spices that were once important but that now are almost forgotten: long pepper, cubebs, grains of Paradise. Dangerous Tastes relates how the Aztecs, who enjoyed drinking hot chocolate flavored with chili and vanilla, sometimes added annatto (a red dye) to the drink. This not only contributed to the flavor but colored the drinker's mouth red, a reminder that drinking cacao was, in Aztec thought, parallel with drinking blood. In the section on ambergris, Dalby tells how different cultures explained the origin of this substance: Arabs and Persians variously thought of it as solidified sea spray, a resin that sprung from the depths of the sea, or a fungus that grows on the sea bed as truffles grow on the roots of trees. Some Chinese believed it was the spittle of sleeping dragons. Dalby has assembled a wealth of absorbing information into a fertile human history that spreads outward with the expansion of human knowledge of spices worldwide. Andrew Dalby is a historian and linguist and has written for numerous food history and classics journals. Among his books are Empire of Pleasures: Luxury and Indulgence in the Roman World (2000), The Classical Cookbook (with Sally Grainger, 1996), and Siren Feasts: A History of Food and Gastronomy in Greece (1996). "Readers are treated to a tantalizing tour of nature's most flavorful, aromatic fruits in this colorful history of spices and aromatics and their diverse uses."—Forecast "Covers a great deal of ground geographically as well as historically."—Associated Press "Dalby follows the trade routes of spices and shows how a taste for the spicy is intermingled with the thrill and risk of traveling to unknown places. But the history of spices reveals a different kind of danger as well, since it shows our greed and brutality in exploiting others so that we may please our own palates."—Ruminator Review "Filled with folklore and historical facts, you will never again regard cocoa as just that yummy milk flavoring, or cinnamon as only that tasty red-brown spice you sprinkle on apple sauce."—Pasadena Star-News "Will set you straight on myrrh, frankincense, zedoary--what they are, where they came from, and what the first people who tasted them thought about them."—Wall Street Journal "Delightful and complex. When Dalby blends the spices, the result is unique and irresistible."—Alan Davidson, author of The Oxford Companion to Food
(Key Words: Spices, Agriculture, Food, Andrew Dalby, Recipes, Theophrastus, Spikenard, Sandalwood, Myrrh, Ambergris, Cumin).