Dangerous Tastes: The Story of Spices
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Dangerous Tastes: The Story of Spices

3.29 of 5 stars 3.29  ·  rating details  ·  35 ratings  ·  5 reviews
Spices and aromatics—the powerful, pleasurable, sensual ingredients used in foods, drinks, scented oils, perfumes, cosmetics, and drugs—have long been some of the most sought-after substances in the course of human history. In various forms, spices have served as appetizers, digestives, antiseptics, therapeutics, tonics, and aphrodisiacs. Dangerous Tastes explores the capt...more
Paperback, 184 pages
Published October 31st 2002 by University of California Press (first published October 22nd 2000)
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This book is on food history. Despite the description given on the back cover, the focus is more on studying the spice than on the history of people's efforts to get the spice. I strongly suspect that people who enjoy spices and who already have a working knowledge of them in the present will find this book more interesting than those who only know a little about them. I was able to best follow and understand the information on the spices I was most familiar with (like ginger and cinnamon) than...more
Deborah Ideiosepius

Overall I found this to be a gem of a book it is basically the story of the different spices known in antiquity and the medieval ages. The amount of information in the book is vast as it takes you on a historic and social journey of the discovery and import of spices to Europe. Unlike other books that I have read it draws a lot on non European sources; Chinese and Arabic writers are utilised at least as well as Portuguese and Greek or Roman sources. A number of very odd myths about the origin of...more
Definitely the best of his books if you're looking for the stories behind specific spices as that's how it's organized. Not many new facts (for me at least) but lots of lovely images and good short sections for easy reading.
Some of the actual history of the spices and spice trade are fascinating but often just as the story is getting interesting it just STOPS. now a new paragraph and a new spice. it's very choppy, more like reading a series of encyclopedia entries than a cohesive work.
Fragmented and boring. Keep moving; there's nothing for you to see here.
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Coffee 1 1 Jun 04, 2012 04:35AM  
Andrew Dalby (born Liverpool, 1947) is an English linguist, translator and historian who most often writes about food history.

Dalby studied at the Bristol Grammar School, where he learned some Latin, French and Greek; then at the University of Cambridge. There he studied Latin and Greek at first, afterwards Romance languages and linguistics. He earned a bachelor's degree in 1970. Dalby then worked...more
More about Andrew Dalby...
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