Baking History

A Taste For The Past

Announcing Think Spice… …Think Anise

Posted by bakinghistory on November 1, 2008

I am delighted to host the November edition of Think Spice… , a monthly event founded by Sunita of Sunita’s World.  The theme of this month is Anise.

The tiny fruits of this graceful plant, which are commonly called seeds, have been used for centuries and have been mentioned in ancient herbals, as well as in texts on medicine, folklore, cookery, confectionery, perfumery, and witchcraft.

Pliny, in his treatise on natural history, mentions anise and states that the best was grown on the Greek Island of Crete. He also tells us that anise was used to substitute lovage in seasonings, as well as to alleviate headaches, soothe the stomach, clear the eyes, and treat colics and coughs. Pliny, as well as Pythagoras, also strongly recommended anise steeped in wine as a remedy against scorpions.  The ancient Romans also used it to flavor bridal cakes.

According to Democritus the humble anise was the best cure for melancholy.

In England, under King Edward I, anise was used to pay taxes; in early English herbals anise was also called Anny and Annyse.

In early Italian herbals anise was also indicated as helpful for nursing mothers.

Finally, in old astrology treatises anise was associated with the planet Mercury, and according to old plant-lore it protected the lungs.

Apparently, anise was also used to ward off evil, and kept in a small pouch under the pillow to avoid nightmares.

To participate in Think Spice… …Think Anise:

* Make a dish, baked good, or beverage in which anise is used. It can be a traditional recipe or a new creation, sweet or savory. Any information about lore and uses for anise that you are familiar with will be great to be included as well.

*Post your recipe by November 25, 2008. Include a link to this post and to Sunita’s blog. You can of course use the logo.

Send me an email at bkhstATyahooDOTcom


>your name

>your blog name and URL

>name of your recipe and permanent link

>your language and location

> a picture of your dish (200 width)

I look forward to reading many great recipes that include this wonderful spice!!

12 Responses to “Announcing Think Spice… …Think Anise”

  1. sunita said

    This is such a wonderful choice for this month’s spice…looking forward to see what everyone comes up with :-)…btw, i love the first picture a lot 🙂

  2. Louise said

    What a perfect month to make anise a star! If I were a blogging event type person:) I think I would try my hand at biscotti di San Martino, in honor of St. Martins Day, November 11. I may just have to email you about this event. Have FUN!!!

  3. bakinghistory said

    @ Sunita: Thanks 🙂 . I am happy to be one of the hosts of your wonderful event!

    @ Louise: Those cookies would be just perfect Louise! 🙂

  4. Ivy said

    Count me in. I love anise flavour.

  5. Simona said

    Very nice choice. I’ll think about something.

  6. Aparna said

    Count me in, Manuela.

  7. bakinghistory said

    @ Ivy, Simona, Aparna: thank you all. I look forward to your contributions!! 🙂

  8. Kelsey said

    I’m a newbie to this event, but I’d love to give it a try. I’ve got a couple of recipes in mind already. Time to get started!

  9. bakinghistory said

    @ Kelsey: Thanks! I look forward to your recipes! 🙂

  10. […] am also submitting this recipe to Manuela, of Baking History, who is hosting this month’s Think Spice, Think Anise, created by Sunita, of Sunita’s […]

  11. Aparna said

    Just sent you my entry, Manuela.

  12. […] Comments bakinghistory on Announcing Think Spice… …Kelsey on Announcing Think Spice… …Jude on Miss Diether’s […]

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