Nutmeg – The kernel of the seed of the Myristica fragrans tree of Southeast Asia, the same plant that also provides us with mace. With a taste similar to mace but with overtones of cloves, nutmeg is relatively inexpensive compared to mace because the yield of nutmeg from a given tree is about ten times that of mace. It is added to just about every form of preparation, from breads and baked goods to vegetable dishes (it is a classic seasoning for fresh spinach), stews, meat fillings for pastas and pastries, and many fruit, egg, and cheese dishes. It is also an essential ingredient to many spice mixtures used throughout Europe, north Africa, and the Middle East, and it’s hard to imagine a good old American pumpkin pie without it. Whole kernels of nutmeg last indefinitely, while the ground product quickly loses its flavour. Consumed in large quantities, nutmeg has hallucinogenic properties and can be toxic and even fatal if consumed in excessive quantities.