A Cured Meat Guide for Everyone
Since the first report of the induction of liver cancer in rats fed dimethylnitrosamine (71), more than 80 different nitroso compounds have been identified as cancer-causing agents. The formation of nitrosamines results from the reaction of secondary amines with nitrite at acid pH. Nitrite is commonly added to cured meat and fish, and nitroso compounds have been measured in these foods (72).
In Iran, the seeds and the leaves are used. The seeds are toasted and added to salads to provide crunchiness. In the Middle East, fenugreek seeds are ground into a paste and rubbed on salted meat, which is then dried. This salted, spiced beef is called pastourma in Iraq and aboukht in Turkey. In Yemen, fenugreek is mixed with coriander leaf, tomato, chili paste, garlic, and other spices to make a hot dip called hilbeh, which is used as a spread for breads. Yemenites also use fenugreek in a seasoning called zhug, which is added as a topping to stews. Armenians use it with garlic and chile pepper in a spice called chemen to spice up a beef dish called bastirma. The Greeks boil fenugreek seeds and eat them with honey.
During this period, the Romans sailed from Egypt to India to bring back spices such as black pepper and turmeric for food, wine, cosmetics, and medicine. The Romans became the first Europeans to cook with spices and used them lavishly. Black pepper was the most popular and most expensive spice during this period. Cumin and coriander were used for preserving meats and sausages. Fish were preserved with salt and leafy spices such as dill, mint, and savory, and flavored with pepper, cumin, and mint.
Historical note In the 1 500s a French expedition in North America found itself trapped in ice and forced to survive on salted meat and stale biscuits. After a time, the crew began to show signs of what we now recognise as scurvy. It is believed that the men survived because a Native American Indian showed them how to make a tea from the bark and needles of pine trees. The French explorer wrote of this encounter in a bookthat was subsequently read by researcher Jacques Masquelier, also a Frenchman, in the 20th century. Intrigued by the story, he began to investigate the chemistry and properties of pine bark and identified oligomeric proanthocyanidin complexes (OPCs). Several years later, he extracted OPCs from grapeseed extract (GSE), which is now considered the superior source of OPCs (Murray & Pizzorno 1 999).
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