Pepper: A History of the World's Most Influential Spice

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  • Edition: Reprint
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 8/5/2014
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
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"A well-documented companion to Mark Kurlansky's Salt." —Publishers Weekly

Mark Kurlansky's smash hit Salt exposed the fascinating history of this everyday staple to countless readers around the world. Now, in this perfect companion to Kurlansky's book, Marjorie Shaffer illuminates the rich history of pepper for a popular audience.

Vivid and entertaining, this sweeping tale of adventure and intrigue describes the essential role that pepper played in bringing both Americans and Europeans to Asia. From the abundance of wildlife on the islands of the Indian Ocean to colorful accounts of sultans entertaining their European visitors, this fascinating book reveals the often surprising story behind one of mankind's most common spices.

In this definitively researched and compelling story, Pepper: A History of the World's Most Influential Spice, Shaffer combines history, customs, and food lore to deliver a mesmerizing tale that every foodie will have to own.

Author Biography

MARJORIE SHAFFER has written for The New York Times, The Financial Times, and Popular Science magazine. She was a business reporter for Reuters and a former Knight science journalism fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. A graduate of Brown University, she received a Master of Science degree in biology from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She is currently a science writer and editor at New York University School of Medicine. She lives in New York City.

Table of Contents


Acknowledgments ix
Foreword xi

One: Meet the Pipers 1
Two: The King of Spices 17
Three: Drugs and Souls 35
Four: Golden Elephants 69
Five: The British Invade 101
Six: The Dutch Terror 139
Seven: U.S. Pepper Fortunes 169
Eight: An Infinite Number of Seals 199
Nine: Medicinal Pepper 214
Epilogue 225
Notes 229
Selected Bibliography 277

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