fudo finds friday: gourmet spice by craig’s market
“And she gave the king a hundred and twenty talents of gold, and of spices great abundance, and precious stones: neither was there any such spice as the queen of Sheba gave King Solomon". A little Spice History before we introduce this week’s fabulous fudofind: Spices have been regarded in high esteem throughout the history of humankind. We know that spices were used by the ancient Egyptians around 3500 BCE. It can go without saying that spices were probably used well before recorded history; however it is obvious that the ancient Egyptians were well practiced with spices, using them for the flavoring of food, cosmetics as well as for embalming their dead. Spices were used throughout the Fertile Crescent, traded through the region, eventually spreading to all corners of the Middle East and branching out further to the Mediterranean and Europe. Many spices came from China and India. The trade route used to transport exotic spices was controlled by the Arabs who controlled he overland routes and transported the spices. Wanting to find a more profitable way to bring spices to market, Europeans searched for a route that led to China and India via the sea. This quest led to the Age of Exploration. A sea route traveling around Africa was discovered by Vasco da Gama. After almost 5000 years, Arab domination over the spice trade ended. Europeans desired spices for their many uses and spices were as valuable as precious gems and even gold, often causing discord if not all out war between countries. Only the wealthy could afford spices despite the end of the Arab monopoly. The discovery of the trade route on the high seas only intensified the battle for who would become the market leader. This quest for control served to keep the price of spices high and out of the reach of the commoner. It wasn’t until more recent history that spices became easily attainable and affordable. Of course, if you have purchased saffron recently you many not think spices inexpensive, but compare that price to a time when spices were so luxurious, so expensive and so sought after that they were kept locked away for safe keeping. With a few clicks we can obtain spices from around the globe. Recently we were searching for user friendly spice blends and we discovered Craig’s Market. Most of the spices and blends at Craig’s Market are housed in smartly labeled tins. You will also find adorable heart shaped tins with large clear-view lids. Of course, our favorite tins are the magnetic ones. Since we live in condos using our space efficiently is a must. Even if the tin holding your favorite spice does come with a magnet, it is easy to glue one onto these very functional spice tins. Our favorite pick from Craig’s Market is the Custom Herb and Spice Kit. For $11.95 you choose 6 spices and/or herbs and blends. What a fantastic gift for yourself or others. Think wedding showers, hostess gifts, teachers or coworkers. We also love the Gourmet Salt Sampler that includes flavors such as Asian fusion, lime fresco and smoked hot paprika. Wow! This is a fantastic set to have during the holiday season that will add that extra special touch to all your dishes. Remember the holidays are almost upon us. It is time to check on the freshness of that pumpkin pie spice that you haven’t used since last November. Your food will only taste as fresh as your ingredients. Spend a little time going through your spice cabinet and when you need make a replacement or two or three don’t fret. It will only take you a few clicks before you have updated your collection and maybe even add a few new spices when you visit Craig’s Market. Photo credit: Craig's Market.