I can’t be grateful enough to have grown up in a country where the knowledge of ‘exotic’ spices seems like second nature. Even though I almost never cooked in India, I know my spices. These flavor enhancers add another dimension to food, almost like painting highlights and shadows to a still life that would seem flat otherwise.
Different cultures have their own way in which spices are used to cook food and this is how spice blends evolved. People in warmer regions of the world (closer to the equator) tend to use more spices to preserve meat because of its antimicrobial properties. This is why spice blends seem to have more complex flavors in regions like India or Africa versus Iceland or Norway.
Food sustains life,
Spice breathes air into that food.
Our cooking has evolved from roasting meats in a fire pit to complex multi layered recipes of modern day. During this evolution and development of several cooking techniques spices began to and still occupy the most critical dimension to cook flavorful food.