The spice trade changed world history. To Europeans, spices and herbs were rare and precious, and worth as much or more than gold and jewels. Explorers and traders literally went to the edges of their maps and beyond to find treasures of cinnamon, peppercorns, nutmeg, and cloves.
In his Friday, October 19, 1492 journal entry, Christopher Columbus wrote, “But in truth, should I meet with gold or spices in great quantity, I shall remain till I collect as much as possible, and for this purpose I am proceeding solely in quest of them.”
This past week, I have been spring cleaning and inventorying my kitchen cupboards. There were 77 different spices and herbs in a single cupboard in my kitchen! A fortune to Christopher Columbus!
From allspice to vanilla beans—with fenugreek, star anise, and 74 others situated alphabetically between them—I have a wealth of spices and herbs. So, in this small way, I am rich. And although I do not have gold or jewels, I do have the world inside a fragrant spice cupboard.