Cooking is on essential part of human civilization. Food has always held a place of honour in the scheme of all countries, but in India from time immemorable, food has occupied a place of high esteem because of it's Scientific and Artistic aspects. Reference to food can also be found in our (Indian) old scriptures like Vedas and Upanisads.
The search for spices spurred explorers to set out on hazardous journeys and set impassioned emperors to war. Columbus, Basco de Gama and Magellan, all went in search of spices and changed the world forever.
Europeans discovered what Indians have known for thousands of years - Spices can be used for preservatives and as herbal medicines.
The spice trade was so lucrative that the Dutch have a saying for anything too expensive, "As costly as pepper"
The Ancient Sanskrit treaties on Ayurvedic (The Hindu Science of Medicine) lists the following benefits of spices.
GINGER - Remedy for liver complaints and Rheumatism. PEPPER - Good for digestive ailments.
CHILLIES - Digestive and Paralysis.
GINGER - External application for itches and skin diseases.
GINGER - To combat halitosis, nausea, headaches and fever.
GINGER - For fevers, heart, brain, liver and stomach ailments.
GINGER - The most expensive spice.
Health conscious dinners will be pleased to know that besides the herbal properties of spice, very little fat is found in Indian Meat dishes. After being trimmed of fat, meat is marinated in yogurt and spices, then placed on 5 (five) foot long skewers and slowly cooked over wood charcoal rather than fume producing briskets. At 700 to 800 degrees in a Tandoor Oven, any remaining fat is seared off.
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