SpicesIs the name given to food seasoning made from plants. Spices have a sharp taste and odor. Some spices are valued for their taste, and others for their smell. Common spices include pepper, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, allspice, mace, mustard, and cinnamon. Spices have little in common expect their use. They come from different parts of the various spice plants. For example, cloves come from the bud, cinnamon from the bark, and pepper and nutmeg from the fruit of each plant. Ginger comes from the root and mustard from the seed. Curry, a seasoning made from a combination of spices, is widely used in India. Spice plants grow in many tropical countries. The Moluccas, or spice Islands, are a famous source of spices. Many persons prefer to grow spice plants such as sage, marjoram, thyme, and other in thier own gardens. They then dry the plants for later use. Some common spice plants grow indoors if they are placed in pots in sunny windows.
Spices have little food value. But they do increase the appetite and stimulate the organs of digestion. Spices must not be used too generously, for they can sometimes be harmful to the body. Before foods were refrigerated or canned, spices were used to make tainted foods taste better. Spices have played an important part in history. The cities of Genoa and Venice powerful because they were at the center of the spice trade with the East. When Colombus and the early explorers set sail across unknown seas, they earing an all-awater route the spice lands of the East. Merchants made great profits in the early days of the spice trade. Even in modern times, spices are important to us. During World War II, for example, many of the East Indian source of spice were temporarily destroyed. As a result, pepper supplies in the U.S. dwindled sharply, and many Americans often had to do without food seasoning.