I cook and eat predominantly European food because I like the tastes, the use of herbs and gentle incorporation of spices and come from that tradition. Taillevent writing in 1373 gave a recipe for spit roasted eggs (Oeufs Rotis a la Broche) which contained pepper ( a spice, but now conceived as a seasoning), ginger, and thyme. I cook, eat and prefer gently seasoned and flavoured items. My most commonly used seasonings are salt, freshly ground black pepper, freshly groung nutmeg, mace, basil, parsley, mint and bay leaf, ginger, cinnamon and allspice AKA Jamaica pepper.
Exploration and travel (in the 15, 16 AND 17th centuries from European sites) ensured that fruits like avocadoes and tomatoes and vegetables like potatoes crossed continents and were grown and adopted to become staples in the national diet - for example potatoes in the diet of the Irish (albeit disastrously in about 1848) or tomatoes in the sauces of the Italians (now accepted as glorious and rightious - now we think of Italian equals tomatoes albeit that they (tomatoes) are not native, just think of a Ragu Bolognese or Lasagne - to do it without tomatoes is simply inconcieveable. I appreciate that my examples are crude, but I do believe they are true and representative!
The spice route (Marco Polo and the Golden Road to Samarkand- was it 13 or 14 century) ensured that spices, including the humble pepper, were incorporated into handling and cooking food into dishes into dishes which are now staples today or used, in the case of pepper, as an integral flavouring in cooking, rather than being percieved as a spice.
Cookery books and seasoning:
In the US (and I live in the UK)
ANY book by Julia Child,
Texts for making Chinese dishes - ISBN: 0 86363 024 3
All the best,
Colonisalism, and I`m not about to express an opinion on the rights of wrongs as I don`t believe I have that right, ensured that spices from the islands of the Caribbean entered the "cooking consciousness" of chefs in Europe and filtered down as did fashion. ginger, allspice or Jamaica pepper, nutmeg and mace (and other flavourings) entered the repetoire of European cooking following "Voyages of Discovery", "Expansion" or "Colonialism". I am acutley aware that members of this board come from different backgrounds and heritages and apologise if I`ve offended anyone - that is not and would never be my intention.
All the best,