Cumin, Camels, and Caravans: A Spice Odyssey

Front Cover
Univ of California Press, Apr 7, 2014 - Cooking - 332 pages
0 Reviews
Gary Paul Nabhan takes the reader on a vivid and far-ranging journey across time and space in this fascinating look at the relationship between the spice trade and culinary imperialism. Drawing on his own family’s history as spice traders, as well as travel narratives, historical accounts, and his expertise as an ethnobotanist, Nabhan describes the critical roles that Semitic peoples and desert floras had in setting the stage for globalized spice trade.

Traveling along four prominent trade routes—the Silk Road, the Frankincense Trail, the Spice Route, and the Camino Real (for chiles and chocolate)—Nabhan follows the caravans of itinerant spice merchants from the frankincense-gathering grounds and ancient harbors of the Arabian Peninsula to the port of Zayton on the China Sea to Santa Fe in the southwest United States. His stories, recipes, and linguistic analyses of cultural diffusion routes reveal the extent to which aromatics such as cumin, cinnamon, saffron, and peppers became adopted worldwide as signature ingredients of diverse cuisines. Cumin, Camels, and Caravans demonstrates that two particular desert cultures often depicted in constant conflict—Arabs and Jews—have spent much of their history collaborating in the spice trade and suggests how a more virtuous multicultural globalized society may be achieved in the future.


 

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.

Contents

The Origin of Species
1
1 Aromas Emanating from the Driest of Places
16
2 Caravans Leaving Arabia Felix
37
3 Uncovering Hidden Outposts in the Desert
60
4 Omanis Rocking the Cradle of Civilization
90
5 Mecca and the Migrations of Muslim and Jewish Traders
105
6 Merging the Spice Routes with the Silk Roads
133
7 The Flourishing of CrossCultural Collaboration in Iberia
161
9 Building Bridges between Continents and Cultures
198
10 Navigating the Maritime Silk Roads from China to Africa
214
11 Vasco da Gama Mastering the Game of Globalization
231
12 Crossing the Drawbridge over the Eastern Ocean
243
Culinary Imperialism and Its Alternatives
270
Acknowledgments
277
Notes
279
Index
293

8 The Crumbling of Convivencia and the Rise of Transnational Guilds
181

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2014)

Gary Paul Nabhan is the W.K. Kellogg Endowed Chair for Sustainable Food Systems at the University of Arizona. He is the author of several award-winning books, including Where Our Food Comes From, Coming Home to Eat, Gathering the Desert, and Arab/American.

Bibliographic information