Days Word

Worthy News and Views

gulfnews : Story of a rare spice

Picture taken at a Indian spice store

Image via Wikipedia

gulfnews : Story of a rare spice.

via gulfnews : Story of a rare spice.

But the old apothecaries were more cautious with nutmeg than with other spices. The Salerno School decreed: “One nut is good for you, the second will do you harm, the third will kill you.” That isn’t strictly true but in large doses nutmeg can be intoxicating. Its oil contains myristicin: in large doses this acts as a deliriant, while causing palpitations, convulsions, nausea, dehydration and pain. It is fatal to a number of animals, including dogs.

The Dutch, who had time to get to know nutmeg, add it to most of their vegetable dishes. It is also popular in Quebec. The spice is popular in historical spheres of Moorish influence but not, oddly, in India.

In England, nutmegs are essential to the spiced foods of Christmas, to custard tarts and to the mealy, stodgy brood of national puddings. It has an affinity with cinnamon and can often take its place. It is lovely in mashed potato.

Of course, the spice is almost universally available today. Jars on supermarket shelves don’t begin to hint at its past. But the story of food can sometimes be the story of humanity, and nowhere does that seem more true than in the case of nutmeg, the headiest, most alluring, most blood-soaked of the spices.

Advertisements

October 31, 2010 - Posted by | cooking, death, global, health, history, medicine, recipe | , , ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: