Old Fashioned Spices and Flavorings

Here is a list and description of the spices used in 1910 by Fannie Merritt Farmer in her recipe book The Boston Cooking School Cook Book1.

Overhead shot of old fashioned spices in small bowls.
Old fashioned spices.


Condiments are not classed among foods, but are known as food adjuncts. They are used to stimulate the appetite by adding flavor to food. Among the most important are salt, spices, and various flavorings. Salt, according to some authorities, is called a food, being necessary to life.

Black pepper is ground peppercorns. Peppercorns are the dried berries of Piper nigrum, grown in the West Indies, Sumatra, and other eastern countries.

White pepper is made from the same berry, the outer husk being removed before grinding. It is less irritating than black pepper to the coating of the stomach.

Cayenne pepper is the powdered pod of Capsicum grown on the eastern coast of Africa and in Zanzibar.

Mustard is the ground seed of two species of the Brassica. Brassica alba yields white mustard seeds; Brassica nigra, black mustard seeds. Both species are grown in Europe and America.

Ginger is the pulverized dried root of Zanzibar officinale, grown in Jamaica, China, and India. Commercially speaking, there are three grades,—Jamaica, best and strongest; Cochin, and African.

Cinnamon is the ground inner bark of Cinnamomum zeylanicum, principally grown in Ceylon. The cinnamon of commerce (cassia) is the powdered bark of different species of the same shrub, which is principally grown in China, and called Chinese cinnamon. It is cheaper than true cinnamon.

Clove is the ground flower buds of Caryophyllus aromaticus, native to the Moluccas or Spice Islands, but now grown principally in Zanzibar, Pemba, and the West Indies.

Pimento (commonly called allspice) is the ground fruit of Eugenia pimenta, grown in Jamaica and the West Indies.

Nutmeg is the kernel of the fruit of the Myristica fragans, grown in Banda Islands.

Mace. The fibrous network which envelops the nutmeg seed constitutes the mace of commerce.

Vinegar is made from apple cider, malt, and wine, and is the product of fermentation. It is a great preservative; hence its use in the making of pickles, sauces, and other condiments. The amount of acetic acid in vinegar varies from two to seven per cent.

Capers are flower buds of Capparis spinosa, grown in countries bordering the Mediterranean. They are preserved in vinegar, and bottled for importation.

Horseradish is the root of Cochliaria armoracia,—a plant native to Europe, but now grown in our own country. It is generally grated, mixed with vinegar, and bottled.

Flavoring Extracts

Many flavoring extracts are on the market. Examples:

  • almond,
  • vanilla,
  • lemon,
  • orange,
  • peach, and
  • rose.

These are made from the flower, fruit, or seed from which they are named.

Strawberry, pineapple, and banana extracts are manufactured from chemicals.


The Boston cooking-school cook book, by Fannie Merritt Farmer (1910).