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Of Spice and Men. . Ancient Value. Rome once held ransom for precious metals and 3,000 pounds of pepperMiddle Age explorers Columbus, Magellan, and Ferdinand risked lives to discover faster routes to spice-producing countries. Main Questions. What is considered a spice?What hypotheses have been formulated about the importance of spices?What causes the correlation between increased temperature and increased spice use?.
Of Spice and Men

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2. Of Spice and Men

3. Ancient Value Rome once held ransom for precious metals and 3,000 pounds of pepper Middle Age explorers Columbus, Magellan, and Ferdinand risked lives to discover faster routes to spice-producing countries Throughout all of history, spices have been of great importance. In 408 A.D., Rome was captured by the Gothic leader Alarich, who held the city ransom for 5,000 pounds of gold and 3,000 pounds of pepper. Middle Age explores Marco Polo from Italy; Pedro Cabral, Vasco da Gama, and Ferdinand Magellan from Portugal; Christopher Columbus and Hernando Cortes from Spain; along with many others risked their lives and the lives of many others in the hopes of finding shorter routes to spice producing countries. Throughout all of history, spices have been of great importance. In 408 A.D., Rome was captured by the Gothic leader Alarich, who held the city ransom for 5,000 pounds of gold and 3,000 pounds of pepper. Middle Age explores Marco Polo from Italy; Pedro Cabral, Vasco da Gama, and Ferdinand Magellan from Portugal; Christopher Columbus and Hernando Cortes from Spain; along with many others risked their lives and the lives of many others in the hopes of finding shorter routes to spice producing countries.

4. Main Questions What is considered a spice? What hypotheses have been formulated about the importance of spices? What causes the correlation between increased temperature and increased spice use?

5. The word ?spice? originated as a culinary, rather than biological term. Spice refers to"any dried, fragrant, aromatic, or pungent vegetable or plant substance, in the whole, broken, or ground form, that contributes flavor, whose primary function in food is seasoning rather than nutrition, and that may contribute relish or piquancy to foods or beverages" (Farrell 1990:17). This definition has lead to ?gray? areas in many experiments, but as a constant, onions and chilies have have been categorized as spices.The word ?spice? originated as a culinary, rather than biological term. Spice refers to"any dried, fragrant, aromatic, or pungent vegetable or plant substance, in the whole, broken, or ground form, that contributes flavor, whose primary function in food is seasoning rather than nutrition, and that may contribute relish or piquancy to foods or beverages" (Farrell 1990:17). This definition has lead to ?gray? areas in many experiments, but as a constant, onions and chilies have have been categorized as spices.

6. What influences spice use? Hypothesis: Spices enhance the flavor of food Support: Spices do enhance flavor Argument: Leaves many unanswered questions -Why do we like them? -What causes cultural preferences? Spices by definition do enhance flavor, since spices area aromatic plant material. Leaves important questions unanswered: Why do people enjoy pungent flavor that spices add? People find sweet foods appealing because these foods offer large amounts of calories, critical to survival of early man. Spices contribute very little nutritionally. Why do cultural preferences exist? If spices merely enhance flavor, why do different cultures favor different spices? For example why are chili peppers preferred in Mexico, and Garlic and Oregano preferred in Italy? Spices by definition do enhance flavor, since spices area aromatic plant material. Leaves important questions unanswered: Why do people enjoy pungent flavor that spices add? People find sweet foods appealing because these foods offer large amounts of calories, critical to survival of early man. Spices contribute very little nutritionally. Why do cultural preferences exist? If spices merely enhance flavor, why do different cultures favor different spices? For example why are chili peppers preferred in Mexico, and Garlic and Oregano preferred in Italy?

7. What influences spice use? Hypothesis: Spices mask the smell of spoiled foods Support: In presence of spice, spoiled foods would be more appealing Argument: Covering-up spoiled foods has major drawbacks A piece of spoiled meat would be more appetizing if it smelt and tasted like a piece of fresh, seasoned meat. Covering up the smell of the spoiled food would harm the individual ingesting the food. This masking of rotten food would be harmful to the individual, and over time, cultures that practiced this type of food curing would die off from eating harmful foods.A piece of spoiled meat would be more appetizing if it smelt and tasted like a piece of fresh, seasoned meat. Covering up the smell of the spoiled food would harm the individual ingesting the food. This masking of rotten food would be harmful to the individual, and over time, cultures that practiced this type of food curing would die off from eating harmful foods.

8. What influences spice use? Hypothesis: Exotic spices serve as a symbol of wealth Support: Rare spices could only be enjoyed by the affluent Argument: Spices are used most prominently in the areas they naturally flourish Rare spices would only be available to the wealthy, so in pre-industrial times, spices like rosemary could hold the weight of a Rolls-Royce or a Rolex. This hypothesis does not explain how spice use increases with temperature. Why do many affluent countries historically, such as England, use spices sparingly in their recipes?Rare spices would only be available to the wealthy, so in pre-industrial times, spices like rosemary could hold the weight of a Rolls-Royce or a Rolex. This hypothesis does not explain how spice use increases with temperature. Why do many affluent countries historically, such as England, use spices sparingly in their recipes?

9. What influences spice use? Hypothesis: Spices cool the body by inducing perspiration Support: Some spices increase sweating, would help people stay cool in hot climates Argument: Most spices don?t increase perspiration, other mechanisms control homeostasis. Increased perspiration would help cool the body in high temperature climates. Horseradish and chilies can increase sweating in some people,however most other spices don?t offer such effects. Having to find food to stay cool contradicts its purpose. Forcing individuals to actively search for spices as a means of remaining cool could be vary risky and would be an improbable evolutionary adaptation.Increased perspiration would help cool the body in high temperature climates. Horseradish and chilies can increase sweating in some people,however most other spices don?t offer such effects. Having to find food to stay cool contradicts its purpose. Forcing individuals to actively search for spices as a means of remaining cool could be vary risky and would be an improbable evolutionary adaptation.

10. What influences spice use? Hypothesis: Spices are used as medicaments Support: Spices have pharmacological uses in many cultures Argument: Spices are used in staple foods, not just food for the ill Spices are used to treat ailments in many cultures as topical and ingested antimicrobials, to lower blood pressure, aid digestion, delay onset of degenerate diseases such as diabetes and cancer. Spices are routinely add to food regardless of the diner?s health. If spice is used as a medical cure, would be ingested in larger quantities and not always in the presence of food.Spices are used to treat ailments in many cultures as topical and ingested antimicrobials, to lower blood pressure, aid digestion, delay onset of degenerate diseases such as diabetes and cancer. Spices are routinely add to food regardless of the diner?s health. If spice is used as a medical cure, would be ingested in larger quantities and not always in the presence of food.

11. What influences spice use? Hypothesis: Spices are used to preserve foods Support: Antimicrobial effects of spices could serve as palatable and efficient way to preserve food Multiple studies show that every spice tested has inhibitory effect on at least one type of bacteria commonly associated with illness caused by spoiled food.Multiple studies show that every spice tested has inhibitory effect on at least one type of bacteria commonly associated with illness caused by spoiled food.

12. Spices, to Preserve and Protect If the evolutionary reason we use spices is to preserve our food, then: -spices should kill or inhibit food-spoilage microorganisms -spice use should be heaviest in hot climates -spices with the most potent antimicrobial properties should be favored in areas where foods spoil most quickly -spices used in a region should be especially potent against local pathogens

13. Indian Spices Experiment tested inhibitory effects of 35 Indian spices on a gram-positive organism, a gram-negative organism, and a yeast Of the 35 spices tested, 20 had some antimicrobial effects Gram-positive and gram-negative differ by their cellular wall structure. Yeasts are single-celled fungi. In this experiment, gram-positive bacteria was represented by Bacillus subtilis, gram-negative by Escherichia coli, and yeast by Saccharmyces cerevisiae. Spices for this experiment were purchased fresh from local market or supplied by the Indian Spices Board, Cochin. The spices were dried, powdered, extracted, centrifuged, and set to a pH of 6.7. The spice extracts were added in 1, 25, and 100 mg/ml amounts to test tubes containing motlen agar media that provide the nutrients essential for the specific organism to grow in and the media was then left to solidify. The corresponding organism was added to each test tube. A control tube was then set up containing the agar media without spice extract, and the corresponding organism was added. Clove, ajowain, chili, horse raddish, and pomegranate seeds have potent antimicrobial properties. An antimicrobial is effective against both bacteria and fungi. Gram-positive and gram-negative differ by their cellular wall structure. Yeasts are single-celled fungi. In this experiment, gram-positive bacteria was represented by Bacillus subtilis, gram-negative by Escherichia coli, and yeast by Saccharmyces cerevisiae. Spices for this experiment were purchased fresh from local market or supplied by the Indian Spices Board, Cochin. The spices were dried, powdered, extracted, centrifuged, and set to a pH of 6.7. The spice extracts were added in 1, 25, and 100 mg/ml amounts to test tubes containing motlen agar media that provide the nutrients essential for the specific organism to grow in and the media was then left to solidify. The corresponding organism was added to each test tube. A control tube was then set up containing the agar media without spice extract, and the corresponding organism was added. Clove, ajowain, chili, horse raddish, and pomegranate seeds have potent antimicrobial properties. An antimicrobial is effective against both bacteria and fungi.

14. World of Spices Jennifer Billing and Paul W. Sherman of Cornell University compiled an article on spice use world wide Study included the use of 43 spices in 4578 meat-based recipes from 93 cookbooks in 36 countries In 1998, undergraduate Jennifer Billing and Paul W. Sherman, an evolutionary biologist and professor of neurobiology and behavior; both from Cornell, compiled data on the inhibitory affect of spices on bacteria, the most common cause of food-bourn illness. The study tested the antibacterial effects of the spices on 30 species of bacteria. The study was conducted on meat-based recipes, because meat spoils easier than plant material in vegetable dishes.In 1998, undergraduate Jennifer Billing and Paul W. Sherman, an evolutionary biologist and professor of neurobiology and behavior; both from Cornell, compiled data on the inhibitory affect of spices on bacteria, the most common cause of food-bourn illness. The study tested the antibacterial effects of the spices on 30 species of bacteria. The study was conducted on meat-based recipes, because meat spoils easier than plant material in vegetable dishes.

15. Heated Battle Every spice tested inhibited the growth of at least one type of bacteria Four spices inhibited every type of bacteria The average spice inhibited the growth of 67% of bacteria it was tested against All the spices tested effected at least one type of bacteria Garlic, onion, allspice, and oregano inhibited every type of bacteria it was tested against. 80% of the spices inhibit 50% or more of the bacteria tested 50% of the spices inhibit 75% or more of the bacteria tested 13% of the spices inhibit 100% of the bacteria testedAll the spices tested effected at least one type of bacteria Garlic, onion, allspice, and oregano inhibited every type of bacteria it was tested against. 80% of the spices inhibit 50% or more of the bacteria tested 50% of the spices inhibit 75% or more of the bacteria tested 13% of the spices inhibit 100% of the bacteria tested

16. Hot Climates, Powerful Spices Spice use increases as temperature increases Spices used in warmer climates have significantly greater potent antimicrobial effects than spices commonly used in cold climates In 10 countries, Ethiopia, Kenya, Greece, India, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Morocco, Nigeria, and Thailand, every meat recipe called for at least one spice. Of the Scandinavian countries, 1/3 of meat recipes called for no spices. Recipes from warmer climate countries call for common spices more often. In hot countries, the most common spice will be used in over 40% of meat dishes. In cold countries, the most common spice will be used in less than 5% of the dishes. Garlic and onions grow in every country where recipes were taken from, however, they were used more often in warm climate countries. Garlic and Onion also inhibited every type of bacteria it was tested with. Gives support for hypothesis that spices are used in an evolutionary perspective to preserve food. Food would spoil more easily in warm climates without refrigeration than in cool climates. In 10 countries, Ethiopia, Kenya, Greece, India, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Morocco, Nigeria, and Thailand, every meat recipe called for at least one spice. Of the Scandinavian countries, 1/3 of meat recipes called for no spices. Recipes from warmer climate countries call for common spices more often. In hot countries, the most common spice will be used in over 40% of meat dishes. In cold countries, the most common spice will be used in less than 5% of the dishes. Garlic and onions grow in every country where recipes were taken from, however, they were used more often in warm climate countries. Garlic and Onion also inhibited every type of bacteria it was tested with. Gives support for hypothesis that spices are used in an evolutionary perspective to preserve food. Food would spoil more easily in warm climates without refrigeration than in cool climates.

17. Recipes and Spices The average meat recipe calls for 3.9 spices 93% of all recipes called for at least one spice Number of spices used in recipes range from 0 to 12 Onion is called for in 65% of recipes. Pepper is called for in 63% of recipes. 81% of the spices are used in 10% or fewer recipes.Onion is called for in 65% of recipes. Pepper is called for in 63% of recipes. 81% of the spices are used in 10% or fewer recipes.

18. Regional Dominance Lists of indigenous bacteria are inadequate to support the hypothesis that commonly used spices are most effective against local bacteria Lists of indigenous bacteria have been assembled by World Health Organization for nine countries

19. Findings Summary Spices have antimicorbial effect Number of spices used increases with temperature Potency increase with temperature Effectiveness of common spices on indigenous bacteria unknown

20. Spices, All Wrapped Up Spice has played an important role worldwide since early civilization Many hypotheses exist on role of spices Many spices are potent antimicrobials Studies show spice selection is directly correlated with temperature


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