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Spices bring to mind images of tempting culinary art, fascinating travels and the bitter struggle for supremacy. Expressions like ‘variety are the spice of life’ and ‘sugar and spice and all that is nice’ show how spellbound were men of letters about spices.
To Orientals, spices are indeed the soul of food. In the Western world, it evokes dreams of exotic tropical islands, exciting expeditions to find routes to the source and the rise and fall of empires. Columbus went westwards in 1492 from Europe to find a sea route to the land of spices but found the New World. Eight years later, Vasco da Gama went round Africa and touched Kozhikode on the south-west coast of India. Long before that, Arabs started trading with the Orient through land mutes. During the 13th century, Marco Polo experienced the attraction of spices in his travels. Even the European conquests and trade arrangement in India and the East Indies have a lot to do with spices.
(a) Why do spices fascinate people?
(b) Where do Orientals live?
(c) Where did Columbus want to reach?
(d) What is meant by ‘culinary skills’?
(e) What did Susruta and Charaka discuss in detail?
(f) What made spices an article of commerce in Mediterranean countries?
(g) Who have written treatises on medicinal plants including spices?
(h) The word in the passage that means ‘interesting’ is ————
(a) Spices bring forth images of culinary art, fascinating travels and the bitter struggle for supremacy, thereby fascinating people.
(b) Orientals live in Asia.
(c) Columbus wanted to reach the land of spices.
(d) It refers to cooking skills.
(e) Susruta and Charaka discussed the use of spices for culinary and medical purposes.
(f) The conquest of Egypt and Asia by Alexander the Great, made spices an article of commerce in Mediterranean countries.
(g) Hippocrates and Theophrastus.