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Spices and aromatics—the powerful, pleasurable, sensual substances utilized in foods, drinks, scented oils, perfumes, cosmetics, and drugs—have lengthy been some of the most sought-soon after substances in the course of human history. In various types, spices have served as appetizers, digestives, antiseptics, therapeutics, tonics, and aphrodisiacs. Unsafe 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 slowly grown. Andrew Dalby, who has gathered data from sources in many languages, explores each and every spice, interweaving its common history with the story of its discovery and a variety of employs.Dalby concentrates on conventional spices that are nonetheless element of globe trade: cinnamon, cloves, ginger, pepper, saffron, and chili. He also discusses aromatics that are now small utilised in meals but nevertheless belong to the spice trade and to conventional medicine: frankincense, myrrh, aloes-wood, balsam of Mecca. In addition, Dalby considers spices that were as soon as crucial but that now are nearly forgotten: prolonged pepper, cubebs, grains of Paradise.Dangerous Tastes relates how the Aztecs, who loved consuming scorching chocolate flavored with chili and vanilla, often added annatto (a red dye) to the drink. This not only contributed to the taste but colored the drinker\'s mouth red, a reminder that consuming cacao was, in Aztec believed, parallel with consuming blood. In the segment on ambergris, Dalby tells how distinct cultures explained the origin of this substance: Arabs and Persians variously believed 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 develop on the roots of trees. Some Chinese believed it was the spittle of sleeping dragons. Dalby has assembled a wealth of absorbing data into a fertile human history that spreads outward with the expansion of human information of spices worldwide.
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