I was reading Harold McGee's On Food and Cooking the other night about spices.  While many people know that Saffron's sweet earthy stigmas are the most expensive spice, commanding up to $5,000 USD/pound - I didn't know that Vanilla was the second at $200/pound and Cardamom was the third at $22/pound.

McGee mentions how Nordic countries often use Cardamom in baked goods.  Supposedly the Vikings fell in love with the stuff a very very long time ago.  I thought briefly.  I know it goes in Chai Tea, and Garam Masala... but what else has Cardamom in it? 

Apparently, 80% of the annual Cardamom crop (which is picked by hand - ergo the price) goes to Arab countries mostly for use in Gahwa, Cardamom Coffee.  This is a big part of the culture, which was hitherto unbeknownst to me.  From MapsofWorld.com:

The ritual of presenting gahwa begins when the host places a set of four coffee pots, called della. Next to an open fire he pours the coffee beans onto a mahmasa,

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Authordavid koch
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OK, so they aren't very scary but it is Halloween and Simple Ginger Snaps doesn't sound very cool.  I adapted the recipe from Brown Eyed Baker sans the molasses because we didn't have any in the "test kitchen."  I also added Black Pepper and Grains of Paradise to make them a little more spicy and savory.

I recently purchased a second pepper mill and some Grains of Paradise and I have been experimenting with them.  The little known spice is reminiscent of black pepper but also lends a pie-spice nuance that I thought would go well with

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Authordavid koch
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