Desire for spices helped fuel European colonial empires to create political, military and commercial networks under a single power.
The quest for spices drove not only trade-related globalization, but also helped pave the way for colonialism and global empires.
- Yale Global The control over gold, silver, precious metals and recently oil has been a source of conflict and driver of economic globalization.
In the Middle Ages, spices were valued commodities, but not, as most people assume, for their ability to preserve meat.
Rather, it was because medieval cuisine placed a premium on a variety of flavors.
Merchant guilds that supplied spices were variously known as "spicers," "apothecaries," or "pepperers." Inventories and account books of pharmacies show that such culinary stalwarts as pepper, cinnamon and ginger were sold in many varieties and in different medical prescriptions. In the Libre del Coch of Master Robert, written for the king of Naples, are about 200 recipes, 154 of which call for sugar, 125 require cinnamon, 76 ginger, and 54 saffron.
Average Essay For The European Age Of Exploration Explain The Problem Of Evil Essay
Spices ordered for the wedding of George "the Rich," Duke of Bavaria, and Jadwiga of Poland in 1475 included 386 pounds of pepper, 286 pounds of ginger, 257 pounds of saffron, 205 pounds of cinnamon, pounds of cloves, and 85 pounds of nutmeg.Even so, the variety of imported aromatic substances is astounding and suggests a high demand, including "long pepper" and "grains of Paradise," both peppery in taste but unrelated to black pepper, as well "dragon's blood," a dye and also a drug ingredient.So, why were spices so highly prized in Europe in the centuries from about 1000 to 1500?Thus, spices were a global commodity centuries before European voyages.There was a complex chain of relations, yet consumers had little knowledge of producers and vice versa.Spices were also thought to have medicinal properties, adding to their allure.These are only some of the reasons that spices obtained such distinction and ultimately became globally traded products, which in turn helped develop integrated economic networks.Clearly, recipes from the era called for not only large quantities of spices, but also a great variety.Spices such as cinnamon or nutmeg associated with desserts were used in meat and fish dishes. Styles in cooking change, and given the modern preference for spicy dishes, we can appreciate the medieval culinary aesthethic that emphasized color, ingenuity and a high degree of processing.Above all, medieval recipes involve the combination of medical and culinary lore in order to balance food's humeral properties and prevent disease.Most spices were hot and dry and so appropriate in sauces to counteract the moist and wet properties supposedly possessed by most meat and fish.