'There's certainly too much pepper in that soup!' Alice said to herself, as well as she could for sneezing. — Alice in Wonderland (1865). Chapter VI: Pig and Pepper. Note the cook's pepper mill.

Allspice

Allspice, also known as Jamaica pepper, myrtle pepper, pimenta, or pimento, is the dried unripe berry of Pimenta dioica, a midcanopy tree native to the Greater Antilles, southern Mexico, and Central America, now cultivated in many warm parts of the world. The name "allspice" was coined as early as 1621 by the English, who valued it as a spice that combined the flavour of cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove.

Several unrelated fragrant shrubs are called "Carolina allspice" (Calycanthus floridus), "Japanese allspice" (Chimonanthus praecox), or "wild allspice" (Lindera benzoin). "Allspice" is also sometimes used to refer to the herb costmary (Tanacetum balsamita).

Allspice is known in Jamaica as pimento and is one of the most important ingredients of Caribbean cuisine. It is used in Jamaican jerk seasoning (the wood is used to smoke jerk in Jamaica, although the spice is a good substitute), in moles, and in pickling; it is also an ingredient in commercial sausage preparations and curry powders. Allspice is also indispensable in Middle Eastern cuisine, particularly in the Levant, where it is used to flavour a variety of stews and meat dishes. In Arab cuisine, for example, many main dishes call for allspice as the sole spice added for flavouring. In the West Indies, an allspice liqueur is produced under the name "pimento dram" due to conflation of pimenta and pimento.

In the United States, it is used mostly in desserts, but it is also responsible for giving Cincinnati-style chili its distinctive aroma and flavor. Allspice is commonly used in Great Britain, and appears in many dishes, including cakes and also in beauty products. In Poland and Nordic countries, allspice is used in a variety of dishes, including savory foods like meatballs, deli meats, soups, marinades and pickles, and to a lesser extent in desserts and fruit drinks. Even in many countries where allspice is not very popular in the household, as in Germany, it is used in large amounts by commercial sausage makers.