1 Lectures 26 and 27 Lectures 26 and 27 Spices and History Spices are aromatic and pungent products of plants. Their properties are often based on essential oils (from essence) which are oily benzene or terpene derivatives, vaporizing, and f ammable. Herbs are small temperate plants, usually soft stemmed, used for their aromatic constituents. In contrast to herbs, the term spice has a tropical connotation. Antiquity Early attraction of spices was based on: l. magical rites and spells (fragrant plants would ward off evil); 2. puri F cation ceremonies and embalming; 3. fragrances and perfumes; 4. f avoring and condiments; 5. food preservation; 6. curatives, aphrodisiacs, vermafuges; 7. poisons. Important ancient spices included sesame [used for food, wine and oil; today sesame seeded buns are the basis for Big Macs and the Mideastern delights known as halvah (candy) and tehina (oily condiment)], cardamom, dill, garlic, onion, thyme, saffron, mint, cassia. Egyptians used spices for embalming (e.g. anise, cumin, sweet marjoram).
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