"Melange", "the spice melange", "the secret coinage", or simply "the spice" is a fictional drug featured in the Dune series of science fiction novels, by Frank Herbert.
Melange is a valuable and addictive substance. Consumption provides many benefits, including heightened awareness and a longer life span. However, withdrawal is fatal.
The spice is described as being orange or dark reddish brown in color. The aroma is that of cinnamon, but the flavor is apparently "never twice the same".
Spice coffee, spice beer, and spice liquor are all fictional beverages made with melange.
Josh Pang, contributor to Cook Fiction, theorizes in the "real world" the spice could ultimately become manifest in the form of ubiquitous cannabis, microdoses of spice on every table in every dish. Like gluten-free restaurants, or sugar-free cookies, we may one day have THC-free entities. Once legalized and acculturated, THC could very well exhibit the same characteristics as the spice in Dune. A society by means of which cannabis is the flower from which we make human honey (as opposed to alcohol or tobacco) would be panaceaic to our current milieu, which if left unchanged will drive us into climate change etc. and so on. Cannabis would change the fabric of our society by softening the mental matrices which block necessary policy changes. This is his pet theory, and does not reflect the views of all Cook Fiction.
Recipe for cooking with the spice Edit
Generally, I like to use ghee as a base for frying. The spice requires fat molecules in order to have the desired effect. The principle I go with is:
- Add ghee to pan
- Add small small amount of ground spice to ghee
- Add any other meal ingredients; fish and padron peppers, for example
- Cook as necessary (padrons will take a little longer than fish)
- About 3-4 minutes per side on low-medium
Moreover, can be cooked in milk, as is traditional in India by way of "Bhang," and added to tea or coffee in small amounts.
It will also bind to alcohol molecules, and can be added to spirits easily, or cooked in a "hot mulled wine."
For coffee, in addition to fatty liquids, one can simply add ground spice to the ground coffee before the boiling water. The spice will bind to the coffee oils, though it is a relatively weak extraction due to the quantity of oil to liquid. Have caution, however, it does work and can be overdone, as this author has learned the hard way.
Finally, in locations where spice is legal, shops will often sell tinctures. About 1 drop of 20mg/ml per cup of any drink will produce very minimal effects, but will provide a little variety—the spice of life!
Spiced food or drink will produce a warm feeling from the inside-out, with the effects getting stronger for an hour and then plateauing for rest of evening until sleep. May even produce small hangover.
See spice oral duration effects here:
Moreover, a separate site has a nice recipe for the classic baked brownie; warning, these are strong:
Or best of all, a truly joyful video celebrating a world where spice is cooked with freely: