Spice: The History of a Temptation

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Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, Dec 10, 2008 - History - 384 pages
5 Reviews
In this brilliant, engrossing work, Jack Turner explores an era—from ancient times through the Renaissance—when what we now consider common condiments were valued in gold and blood.

Spices made sour medieval wines palatable, camouflaged the smell of corpses, and served as wedding night aphrodisiacs. Indispensible for cooking, medicine, worship, and the arts of love, they were thought to have magical properties and were so valuable that they were often kept under lock and key. For some, spices represented Paradise, for others, the road to perdition, but they were potent symbols of wealth and power, and the wish to possess them drove explorers to circumnavigate the globe—and even to savagery.

Following spices across continents and through literature and mythology, Spice is a beguiling narrative about the surprisingly vast influence spices have had on human desire.

Includes eight pages of color photographs.

One of the Best Books of the Year: Discover Magazine, The Christian Science Monitor, San Francisco Chronicle 
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - varielle - LibraryThing

I do enjoy my spices, but had no idea how all encompassing the history of spice could be. Trade, travel, exploration, religion, medicine, sex and, oh yes, cooking, have all frequently hinged on ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - LynnB - LibraryThing

Jack Turner has written a history of the spice trade, with chapters on the global search for spices in the 1400s; spice in cooking from ancient to medieval times, spice as medicine, and spice in ... Read full review

Contents

THE SPICE SEEKERS 3
23
CHAPTER THE SPICE OF LIFE
159
II
231
re YoIJo HatJ WaldenSro1yz1g A
237
SOME LIKE IT BLAND Saint Bernard 8 Family Tifl
281
EPILOGUEZ THE END OF THE SPICE AGE
289
MEDIEVAL EUROPE The Flavors of C ockayne
320
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About the author (2008)

Jack Turner was born in Sydney, Australia, in 1968. He received his B.A. in Classical Studies from Melbourne University and his Ph.D. in International Relations from Oxford, where he was a Rhodes Scholar and MacArthur Foundation Junior Research Fellow. He lives with his wife, Helena, and children in Geneva. Spice: The History of a Temptation is his first book.

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