Spices have played an intrinsic part in the human story, running through history, geography, anthropology, politics, religion, culture, art and design. From alligator pepper seeds which, in the Yoruba culture, are given to newborn babies to taste a few minutes after birth, to charoli seeds, which are used in traditional Indian sweets eaten during the festival of Holi, and caraway seeds, which were added to medieval love potions, each spice has its own significance in the lives of the people who use it. The story of spice is really the stories of human relationships, from growers and traders to cooks and explorers, all starting with a tiny seed.
The Grammar of Spice is one of the world’s missing books. It will change the way we understand spices and the role they play in defining not only our food but also our place in the world. The essence of each spice is explored in a brief history peppered with interesting anecdotes and tips, and accompanied by reproductions of surface decoration from Owen Jones’s original book, The Grammar of Ornament. The book is beautiful to look at and hold, packed with well-researched material, and will change the way a generation appreciates the incredible world of flavours and tastes that spices open up to us.