Friday, January 08, 2021

Spice in the World of Cooking

Cuisine is just as much a medium for expressing culture as is art, literature, newspaper, television, architecture or urban design. It is optimistic enough to think that this symbolism may change in the future. Cuisine means rational knowing of everything about how to feed people, its purpose being to safeguard human health, using the best possible food.

The cuisine is the one that really moves farmers, growers, fishermen, hunters and the large family of cookers, regardless of title or qualification under operating food preparation.

Food and culture reflect out quality of life to the point where, every country possess, it seems, the sort of cuisine it deserves which is to say the sort of cuisine it is appreciate enough to want. Bringing on stage cultural values, food becomes a central identity marker, defining personality, social class, lifestyles, gender roles and relationships, from family, to community, to ethnic groups or nationality, changing through time and place.

Until recent times, Australian cooking in general has had very little to do with spices. In the formative years of white settlement in the country, diet and eating habits were entirely inappropriate to resource, climate and lifestyle.

Spices are parts of plants that due to their properties are used as colorants, preservatives or medicine. The uses of spices have been known since long time, and the interest in the potential of spices is remarkable due to the chemical compounds contained in spices, such as phenylpropanoids, terpenes, flavonoids and anthocyanins.

Spices and condiments are an important part of human history and nutrition, and have played an important role in the development of most cultures around the world. According to the Codex Alimentarius, the category of salts, spices, soups, sauces, salads, and protein products includes substances added to foods to enhance aroma and taste.

Generally, the leaf of a plant used in cooking may be referred to as a culinary herb, and any other part of the plant, often dried, as a spice. The use of curry was documented in 2000 B.C.E. in India, and Egyptians used garlic, cumin, coriander, and other species at least since 1500 B.C.

Ancient Egyptian papyri from 1555 BCE record the use of coriander, fennel, juniper, cumin, garlic and thyme.7 It is reported that the Sumerians were using thyme for its health properties as early as 5000 BCE, and the farmers of Mesopotamia were growing garlic as early as 3000 BCE.

Spices first reached Constantinople and Alexandria, from where they were taken to Venice, Naples and Genoa in Italy, and from there to the rest of Europe.

Reference books and cooking manuals used in the latter part of the nineteenth century and early twentieth century reveal that household storerooms stocked what could be called today a basic spice collection – a mere twelve or so spices, among them nutmeg, cinnamon, caraway and black pepper.
Spice in the World of Cooking

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