From the tangled jungles of Kerela, pepper spread around the globe and altered the course of history as it did. Peppercorns have been used since antiquity, both for flavor and as a traditional medicine. Black pepper is the world's most-traded spice, beguiling cooks worldwide with its fragrant warmth. Its spiciness is due to the chemical compound piperine, which imparts a different kind of heat than the capsaicin characteristic of chili peppers. Pepper is ubiquitous in the Western world as a seasoning, and has a long partnership with salt on dining tables in shakers or mills.
Black, green, pink, red pepper...Sichuan, cubeb, long, sansho, and more. Which are true peppercorns and which are pretenders? Eleanor Ford, award-winning author of The Nutmeg Trail, delves into the history, botany, lore, and culinary uses of the world’s favorite spice, then turns to the kitchen to explore flavor profiles, cooking tips, and recipes that put pepper to best use.