Food History: Cumin

The History of Cumin

“Once [cumin] has been introduced into a new land and culture, cumin has a way of insinuating itself deeply into the local cuisine, which is why it has become one of the most commonly used spices in the world,” writes Gary Nabhan, author and social science researcher at the University of Arizona Southwest Center, in his recent book, Cumin, Camels, and Caravans.”

Nabham’s book is about spices and global trade and the effect that has had on history and culture. Cumin was found in the world’s oldest recipe collection in Mesopotamia in 1750 B.C. It has been prevalent in the Middle East since then. Cumin spread with the Roman Empire; and then, spread again by European colonists.

Mascevich, Adam. From Ancient Sumeria to Chipotle Tacos, Cumin Has Spiced Up the World. NPR. March 11, 2015.