Fall has its cinnamon and cloves, Thanksgiving its sage, but in my mind (nose?), the smell of the winter holidays is nutmeg. Baked into sweets, sprinkled over winter vegetables, and, most importanly, grated over real egg nog, it’s the thing that invokes my sense memories the most.
And, apparently, its presence in North America holiday traditions? That’s “one of the saddest stories of history,” whereby sad means super violent and, really, kinda nuts. Allison Aubrey of NPR looks into the history of this pungent spice. She interviews historian Michael Krondl, who explains the eventual massacre that led to its availability in the west, and how, eventually, the Dutch traded the entire island of Manhattan to get their hands on it.
It’s a fascinating listen. Hear the piece at NPR.org – No Innocent Spice: The Secret Story Of Nutmeg, Life And Death
Photo: Nutmeg from BigStock