Review of The spice trail, BBC2

This was quite interesting and I learned a few new things, seeing how cinnamon sticks are made and apparently peppercorns are trampled by human feet to separate the pods. They touch on the history and the deeply ingrained system of exploitation but not in any real depth. The father from a family of pepper farmers in Kerala killed himself when the pepper harvest failed. ‘Suicide, due to loss of pepper’ in the words of his son. They didn’t give up, the sons, they are re-building the farm with better strains of plant. And the chap in Sri Lanka who can’t find anyone to pay a commercial rate for his organic cinnamon takes his beautiful bundles of very long, handmade rolls of cinnamon bark to a flower-filled shrine and gives them away for nothing, so (cinammon) sticking it to the man. I couldn’t help feeling there was more of a story here about the missing links between the growers and those overpriced little boxes on the supermarket shelf. The food programme on Radio 4 told me that the majority of spices we buy are stale, due to the way spices are traded and stored for years. So there could have been something more about that, and can Kate Humble calm down a bit please.

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