Substances possessing practically no nutritive value, but consumed either for their stimulating effects or for their flavor, are known as food adjuncts. Tea and coffee belong under this head, as do condiments which increase the appetite and stimulate the flow of digestive juices. Condiments are largely aromatic fruits, seeds, and leaves, containing volatile oils. Little children are considered better off without spiced foods, as natural, unstimulated appetite is the best guide to the amount of food which should be eaten. Then, too, the spices which are preservatives may hinder digestion and so cause difficulty. The flavorings vanilla, orange, and lemon are usually considered harmless.
Allspice. The fruit of an evergreen tree which grows in the West Indies and belongs to the same family as the clove. The fruit is gathered when it is full grown, but before it is ripe, and is dried in the sun. The name comes from the supposed resemblance in taste to a mixture of cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg.
Anise, coriander, cumin, dill, and fennel, are all fruits of various plants.
Bayleaf, marjoram, mint, and summer savory are dried herbs.
Capers. These are the flower buds of the caper bush. They are picked and dried, and stored in vinegar, but afterwards removed and packed for shipping without the vinegar.
Caraway. These so-called seeds are the fruit of a plant growing in northern and central Europe and Asia; it is also cultivated in this country, especially in California.
Cayenne. Cayenne or red-pepper is the fruit of the capsicum, not a true pepper, several species of which are grown in the tropics. They belong to the same family as the potato and tomato.
Cinnamon. True cinnamon is the inner bark of a plant native to Ceylon. Cassia is a thicker bark, resembling cinnamon in flavor, but less delicate, coming from India, China, and the East Indies. Much so-called cinnamon is really cassia. Both have a right to the botanical name cinnamon.
Clove. The flower buds of an evergreen grown largely in Zanzibar, British East India, and the West Indies. The buds are dried in the sun or treated with wood smoke. Dark, well-formed cloves are best. Ground cloves deteriorate more quickly than do whole cloves.
Ginger. The root of a plant native to southern
Asia. The plant, not unlike the iris in appearance, grows freely in moist places in tropical countries. The root is gathered when the stem withers, is scalded, or washed and scraped, to prevent sprouting, and is sometimes bleached. Preserved, Canton, and crystallized ginger are made from young roots.
Horse-radish. This is the root of a plant related to the cress or nasturtium family. It is ground for use, and is sometimes mixed with vinegar.
Mace. This spice is made from the covering which surrounds the nutmeg seed.
Mustard. The product is ground from the seeds of various species of the mustard plant. The hulls may or may not be removed. Unground white mustard seeds are frequently used in pickling. French mustard is prepared by mixing ground mustard with vinegar and other flavoring materials, such as garlic and spices.
Nutmeg. Nutmegs are the dried seeds of a tree which resembles the orange. The tree is native to the Malayan Archipelago.
Paprika. This is prepared by grinding the ripe fruit of the capsicum, carefully excluding seeds and stem. This gives a product which is far less peppery than Cayenne.
Pepper. The fruit of the pepper plant, a climbing perennial shrub, grown in the East and West Indies. The unripe peppercorns make black pepper. The ripe pepper, with the husk removed, is ground into white pepper.
Salt. Table salt is composed largely of sodium chloride, usually with other mineral matter, such as calcium sulphate. Traces of calcium and magnesium chloride may also be present. In the United States, nine-tenths of all the salt produced comes from New York, Ohio, Michigan, and Kansas. Salt is obtained by mining rock salt, from salt wells, or by the evaporation of salt water from the ocean or from salt lakes. Salt produced in the third way must be refined by re-dissolving in water and then re-crystallizing. Vinegar. In the United States, vinegar means the product resulting from the fermentation of apple juice. This is sometimes called apple or cider vinegar, but various vinegars made from other materials may also be sold under their appropriate names; as wine vinegar, malt vinegar, and grain or spirit vinegar.