Monday, May 30, 2011

The Flavor of the World

As usual, I have spent most of this challenge period pondering spicy colors and thinking about what I wanted to do.  And, as usual, I started cruising the internet and looking for "spicy" inspiration.  I'm working on a map series these days so that led me to thinking about where spices come from, and that led to some delightful visual discoveries, like the spice-filled map above, courtesy of a very informative website called "Adventures in Spice."  Wouldn't it be wonderful to create a map like that with hand-embroidered embellishment?  I couldn't figure out how to do it in a 12x12 inch frame, though, so that idea was discarded.

But that set me on the path of looking at spices and geography.  And, as a home-schooling mom, I was delighted to find a great array of information and even lesson plans on using spices as a way to study geography.  (Digression here:  I found geography in high school totally boring.  How I wish it could have been taught with a little creativity, to show us how our own lives were impacted by other places in the world so geography would have felt relevant.  How fun would that be for a school project, to pick a spice from food we actually eat, and trace where it came from and what the trade routes were and find recipes in different countries that use the spice?)

So in case you're intrigued by this, here are a few of the fun things I found:

** National Geographic's website has a whole lesson plan on "Spice Geography"

** A website called "Spice Advice" has a "spice encyclopedia" where you can get facts about all sorts of spices, and even a timeline all about spices

** The McCormick's website has a section called "Spice Field Reports" where a spice buyer reports on where he goes to get spices, how they grow, what they're like in nature, etc.

Of course, after all of this I didn't do anything that involved geography in my spice quilt.  But it was a fun exploration and that McCormick's site had me distracted with delicious-sounding recipes, too.


Kristin L said...

I completely agree about making geography relevant. I totally didn't get European geopolitics in High School, but living in Europe all those border scuffles finally made sense to me. I love your idea of tracing the origin of spices. Figuring out one's food or other favorite things gets to the store would be relevant too.

Jeannie said...

Ladies, as much as I am looking forward to the big spice reveal tomorrow, I am really looking forward to curling up with your book this evening. I just wanted to congratulate you all for a job well done. The book has exceeded my expectations and it will become a treasured book in my library. Thanks!