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Sunday, June 19, 2011
Spice: A History of a Temptation
The book tells the history of spice from ancient times to the end of the medieval period. There were interesting facts sprinkled here and there. I learned that the commonly cited fact that medieval people used used spice in order to choke down rancid meat is a falsehood. Then there were a couple of interesting narratives such as the story of alewives in England and how they adulterated their beer with chicken droppings and whatever they had around to cover the taste of stale flat beer.
Mostly I learned that all writers are not created equal. This book was recommended by the Amazon system which thought that if I liked Kurlansky's Salt that I might like Spice. They were wrong. If you've tried Salt like I have and want something more, pick up another Kurlansky book, not this one.