Cumin

Around four thousand years ago someone in ancient Babylonia recorded for posterity a recipe that included cumin in the preparation of leftover lamb. This ancient Sumerian tablet was the world’s first cookbook, listing no fewer than 25 recipes, 21 meat and 4 vegetarian. Cumin has clearly been used in cooking for millennia, and it’s good…

Coriander

In the first century C.E., Pliny the Elder listed no less than twenty-one remedies using coriander, from soothing ‘fluxes of the belly’ to easing the sting of the Amphisbaena, a two-headed, chicken-footed mythical serpent. Mythical creatures aside, coriander does have some other practical uses. WHERE IS CORIANDER FROM? Coriander, Coriandrum sativum, was probably indigenous to…

Pepper

    When the Visigoth Alaric I besieged Rome in 408 C.E., the ransom he demanded to lift the siege included gold, silver, slaves, and 3000 pounds of pepper. Pepper has been eaten and used in medicines since ancient times, and its value was such that it was even used to pay taxes, rents, bribes…