Spices are a must in our lives. They are an object of desire that changed the course of history, which we have fought for, which. Just think about how dull life would be if there were no spices in it.
Imagine: You step in through the magnificent door of the Spice Bazaar opening to Eminönü. You are dazzled at first, after coming from outside. But the lights illuminating shops right and left came to your rescue, and you are filled with the excitement of entering this enchanted ambience, just like in a city of fairy tales. Everywhere is flamboyant. There are many herbalists, with their wide array of goods. This riot of colors fascinates you, but your nose is your first part that realizes how special this place is. The fragrance surrounding you has a dizzying effect. It is nigh impossible not to become intoxicated from all the smells.
We fought for them
Have you ever thought what we would do if we didn’t have this great thing in our lives? Spices, which were fought for and deemed equivalent to, or even more valuable than gold in ancient times, and changed the course of history, have been at the center of life since the day humans appeared.
In Turkish, the word for spices is “baharat”, which derives from the word “bahar” and means fragrant plant. For another approach, one should look at Sanskrit language. In this language, the word “Baharat” means India. Establish the relationship yourself. The fact that spices, for which many wars were fought, was brought to the West from India and certainly Asia, the homeland of many kinds of spice is obvious. In those times, the Silk Road and Spice Road were all the rage. Or rather, no other roads were known for carrying spices and other commercial goods from the Far East, Asia and Middle East the West. As sea expeditions became common and Western explorers of the Middle Ages and later took to the stage one by one, the course of history starts to change. The aim of explorers was not only to find new countries, reach gold and thus money, but also to size spices, which were very expensive and could only be bought by rich people in the West back then. That’s how history was written. Even though Cristopher Columbus’ setting off from India and reaching the continent of America was a coincidence, that voyage was also about spices. Thanks to these discoveries, the Historical Spice Road lost its importance, but value of spices has always been appreciated.
From our descendants to today
In the beginning, we said that spices and their use were “Almost as old as humanity itself”. The desire to reach flavor and curiosity is the main factor for their spreading. Probably, our descendants used to cook meat of the animals they hunted with various plant roots and seeds, or rolled leaves around them. Here’s basic gastronomy for you. We took it from them and enhanced it. We crushed, ground and pulverized seeds, and used them as spice. Sometimes we preferred to leave them as grain. Naturally, that form can also be quite nice…
An essential part of life
Let’s return from the pages of history to today. The most important ingredient we use in the name of adding flavor to and differentiating meals is various spices. We use them both while cooking and during serving. We even prefer eating animals grazing in natural pastures, mountain tops and lowlands, which is the right thing to do. For instance, while eating meat of animals that ate oregano, we taste oregano. There are many more examples…
Which of us does not sprinkle chili pepper on a plate of tasty White bean? Oh how black pepper becomes delicious rice. Onions served alongside kebab should be dipped into sumac. Meat pastry cannon be eaten without dry mint. All pastrami should have fenugreek in it. Pepper steak makes one’s eye water while eating, but it has many fans. And how about aniseed? Suffice it to say that many drinks would not exist if not for aniseed.
Spices are an essential part of life. This is definite information, feel free to spread it! Think about it, how dull life would be without them, right?
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