Free Shipping on all orders. Shop now!

Spices Passport Guide

Spices Passport Guide

The Spice of Life

Spices are essential to almost every food culture, which makes spice the perfect lens through which young Taste Buds can learn about the world through the magic of food. Spices are the seeds, fruit, root or bark of a plant, many of which have been used for hundreds of years. In fact, the pursuit of spices was one of the main reasons explorers in the 15th century set sail in search of new lands! Today, we can appreciate all of the aromas, flavors, textures and colors of spices without the long sea voyage, but they can still transport us to faraway places.

Spices are essential to almost every food culture, which makes spice the perfect lens through which young Taste Buds can learn about the world through the magic of food. Spices are the seeds, fruit, root or bark of a plant, many of which have been used for hundreds of years. In fact, the pursuit of spices was one of the main reasons explorers in the 15th century set sail in search of new lands! Today, we can appreciate all of the aromas, flavors, textures and colors of spices without the long sea voyage, but they can still transport us to faraway places.

Supply List

Supply List

While we designed the passport challenges to be flexible (and make use of what you probably have on hand in your kitchen), here’s a sample supply list for what you need on hand:

While we designed the passport challenges to be flexible (and make use of what you probably have on hand in your kitchen), here’s a sample supply list for what you need on hand:

1. A drink like hot chocolate or cider

2. Applesauce

3. Cinnamon

4. Salt

5. Turmeric

6. Additional assorted spices

1. A drink like hot chocolate or cider

2. Applesauce

3. Cinnamon

4. Salt

5. Turmeric

6. Additional assorted spices

Challenge Tips

Add a unique spice to a drink like hot chocolate or cider

How To: Let your Taste Bud take a pinch of the spice out of your hand and add it to hot chocolate or apple cider. Some spice ideas are ginger, chili powder, nutmeg or cloves.

Interesting Fact: The origin of hot chocolate can be traced back to Mayan drinking chocolate, which included chili peppers and was served cold, not hot!

Follow-Up Question: Hold your spiced drink in your mouth for a few seconds before swallowing it. Now hold your nose and try it again. Does it taste different than it smells?

 

Add a unique spice to a drink like hot chocolate or cider

How To: Let your Taste Bud take a pinch of the spice out of your hand and add it to hot chocolate or apple cider. Some spice ideas are ginger, chili powder, nutmeg or cloves.

Interesting Fact: The origin of hot chocolate can be traced back to Mayan drinking chocolate, which included chili peppers and was served cold, not hot!

Follow-Up Question: Hold your spiced drink in your mouth for a few seconds before swallowing it. Now hold your nose and try it again. Does it taste different than it smells?

 

Smell 3 different spices (just a little sniff)

How To: This challenge is right in front of your nose, but not TOO close. Don’t smell too much and make sure to hold the spice at least 6 inches away.

Interesting Fact: Smell plays the biggest role in the sensation of flavor. Without our sense of smell, the world would taste bland and dull. Smell is also the sense that ties most directly to our memories.

Follow-Up Question: Does this smell remind of you of anything you’ve tried before?

 

Smell 3 different spices (just a little sniff)

How To: This challenge is right in front of your nose, but not TOO close. Don’t smell too much and make sure to hold the spice at least 6 inches away.

Interesting Fact: Smell plays the biggest role in the sensation of flavor. Without our sense of smell, the world would taste bland and dull. Smell is also the sense that ties most directly to our memories.

Follow-Up Question: Does this smell remind of you of anything you’ve tried before?

 

Describe the color of turmeric

How To: It’s important to eat with your eyes! How many words can you use to describe the color of this spice?

Interesting Fact: Turmeric is native to the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia, and has been used for centuries for food, dye, and medicine.   

Follow-Up Question: Can you think of anything in nature that looks like this spice? How many different colored spices can you spot in your own kitchen?

 

Describe the color of turmeric

How To: It’s important to eat with your eyes! How many words can you use to describe the color of this spice?

Interesting Fact: Turmeric is native to the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia, and has been used for centuries for food, dye, and medicine.   

Follow-Up Question: Can you think of anything in nature that looks like this spice? How many different colored spices can you spot in your own kitchen?

 

Find 2 spices to make your own blend

How To: Tell your Taste Bud to think about the different smells and flavors of individual spices and how they might taste combined. How delicious would something floral and citrusy like coriander taste with something fiery like ginger? What about something smokey like paprika with something earthy like turmeric?

Interesting Fact: All over the world, spice blends characterize cuisines. In India, a spice mix of certain proportions is called a masala, and there are many different kinds from all over the country. In China, Five-Spice is based on the five elements, which translates to the five basic flavors (sour, bitter, salty, sweet, savory) and the balance among them. In Jamaica, Jerk Spice is used on all sorts of delicious dishes, particularly grilled meats.   

Follow-Up Question: Can you find a traditional spice blend from a country you’d like to visit?

 

Find 2 spices to make your own blend

How To: Tell your Taste Bud to think about the different smells and flavors of individual spices and how they might taste combined. How delicious would something floral and citrusy like coriander taste with something fiery like ginger? What about something smokey like paprika with something earthy like turmeric?

Interesting Fact: All over the world, spice blends characterize cuisines. In India, a spice mix of certain proportions is called a masala, and there are many different kinds from all over the country. In China, Five-Spice is based on the five elements, which translates to the five basic flavors (sour, bitter, salty, sweet, savory) and the balance among them. In Jamaica, Jerk Spice is used on all sorts of delicious dishes, particularly grilled meats.   

Follow-Up Question: Can you find a traditional spice blend from a country you’d like to visit?
 

Feel the texture of salt

How To: Food is tactile. The sense of feeling is just as important as any other while eating your food. Salt has a crystal-structure to it, and is then processed to have different textures depending on its use.

Interesting Fact: It’s true that salt is technically a mineral, not a spice, but it’s such an important element of flavor and seasoning that we had to include it! As a seasoning, salt enhances the taste of other foods by suppressing bitterness. It can highlight sweetness, and draw out the flavors of certain ingredients—basically, adding salt to a dish doesn’t just make it salty, it can bring balance.

Follow-Up Question: Now that you’re committed to thinking about textures in your food, what are some other spices that might lend crunches or pops to a dish?

 

Feel the texture of salt

How To: Food is tactile. The sense of feeling is just as important as any other while eating your food. Salt has a crystal-structure to it, and is then processed to have different textures depending on its use.

Interesting Fact: It’s true that salt is technically a mineral, not a spice, but it’s such an important element of flavor and seasoning that we had to include it! As a seasoning, salt enhances the taste of other foods by suppressing bitterness. It can highlight sweetness, and draw out the flavors of certain ingredients—basically, adding salt to a dish doesn’t just make it salty, it can bring balance.

Follow-Up Question: Now that you’re committed to thinking about textures in your food, what are some other spices that might lend crunches or pops to a dish?

 

Discover where nutmeg comes from

How To: Look up Nutmeg online and learn together! A great resource is the “Culinary Uses” section on Wikipedia.

Interesting Fact: Nutmeg is made from the seeds of a tropical evergreen tree native to Indonesia.

Follow-Up Question: The tree on which nutmeg grows actually produces two spices. Can you find out what the other one is in your research?

 

Discover where nutmeg comes from

How To: Look up Nutmeg online and learn together! A great resource is the “Culinary Uses” section on Wikipedia.

Interesting Fact: Nutmeg is made from the seeds of a tropical evergreen tree native to Indonesia.

Follow-Up Question: The tree on which nutmeg grows actually produces two spices. Can you find out what the other one is in your research?

 

Taste applesauce with a pinch of cinnamon

How To: Let your Taste Bud add a pinch of cinnamon to a bowl of applesauce.   

Interesting Fact: Cinnamon has a long history of use in traditional medicine as a digestive system aide.

Follow-Up Question: Did the applesauce taste different before and after adding the cinnamon? What other spices might you add to your applesauce next time? (Try allspice!)

 

Taste applesauce with a pinch of cinnamon

How To: Let your Taste Bud add a pinch of cinnamon to a bowl of applesauce.   

Interesting Fact: Cinnamon has a long history of use in traditional medicine as a digestive system aide.

Follow-Up Question: Did the applesauce taste different before and after adding the cinnamon? What other spices might you add to your applesauce next time? (Try allspice!)

 

Ask a grown up about their favorite spice

How To: Tell your Taste Bud about how a spice plays a part in one of your favorite foods.

Interesting Fact: Almost every flavorful dish has an element of spice to it, even if it’s not immediately recognizable. Is there a particular spice that transports you to a particular memory?

Follow-Up Question: Now ask your Taste Bud about their favorite spice!

 

Ask a grown up about their favorite spice

How To: Tell your Taste Bud about how a spice plays a part in one of your favorite foods.

Interesting Fact: Almost every flavorful dish has an element of spice to it, even if it’s not immediately recognizable. Is there a particular spice that transports you to a particular memory?

Follow-Up Question: Now ask your Taste Bud about their favorite spice!

 

More to Chew On

Shop Kitchen Gear

Become an Official Taste Bud

Become an Official Taste Bud

Stay connected to what’s cooking in Kalamata’s Kitchen! Get inspiration for Food Adventures, exclusive offers, community updates, plus an Official Taste Bud Membership Card!

Get inspiration for Food Adventures, exclusive offers, community updates, plus an Official Taste Bud Membership Card!