You are the owner of a large ship. You sail around the world and trade goods with other countries. A French investor has agreed to pay for your next trip if you can bring back a profit and, hopefully, goods that he can sell to local merchants. If for any reason you do not return with a profit, he has the right to back out of the deal, and you\'ll be stuck paying for everything. Before you sail from your homeport in Lisbon, Portugal, you will need to make several important decisions about how to prepare for your journey and what route to take. If you succeed, you will be extremely wealthy and will cement your reputation as a spice trader, ensuring that more rich investors come your way. But if you fail, you may go bankrupt and lose your ship, not to mention ruin your reputation. Food and spices of the Renaissance were the fruit of explorers\' labor. Through exploration and trade, bizarre and exotic foods native to newly found territories became commonly traded goods. In addition new ways were found to use already common staples, and the number of spices went from a few to a few hundred. The Renaissance was a time of great discovery, and new foods were one of them.

During the Renaissance, different regions of Europe had foods that were more common to them and less common to other areas. Around the coast fish was the food of choice. Herring and cod were prevalent in the north, and in the south sardines, anchovies, and tuna were among the more commonly consumed fish1. On the other hand cattle and other domestic animals were more common around inland regions. Cows, sheep, and goats were among the most commonly raised domestic animals. As meat most of these animals were eaten when they were young as veal, lamb, and kid2.

Of the all the foods that were common throughout all of Europe bread and grain were by far the most common. Peasants and aristocrats alike consumed bread. The rich ate white bread made of refined wheat flour3. Where as the poor ate darker breads and flat bread because they were much cheaper4. In England biscuits became very popular. Grains, such as polenta and oats were also a universally consumed staple. Of all the many foods during the Renaissance foods of the bread group were among the most common. They were not only very cheap but were very healthy.

The making of bread was highly regulated during the renaissance5. At first, rules were imposed upon bakers from the higher authorities. Grouping the bakers together was simply a more efficient way of ensuring that they followed the rules. As local economies developed, however, these organizations began to go off on their own. Groups began to formulate their own regulations to better profit from their status in the public diet.

Some forms of public health regulations have undoubtedly been around since the start of urbanization. For bakers, the easiest rules to impose were those regarding bread weights and prices. Requirements on bread prices, quality, weight, and freshness have been documented to well before even the renaissance6. Generally, however, regulations were enforced at the local level. Standards varied from town to town according to grain availability and tastes. For example, the Winchester Assize of 1203 stated that white bread made in our city of Winchester shall weigh thirty shillings, but black bread sixty-five shillings7.

The most widespread regulation was the Assize of Bread. This English law made in 1266 attempted to standardize the various local policies8. The Assize directed bakers to make a common weight of bread known as a penny loaf. However, the loaf could vary in weight, and thus price, according to the type of flour used. the white loaf was made from the finest white flour available. The wheaten loaf was coarser, and weighed half as much. household loaves were approximately double the weight of white loaves, made from unbolted flour9. Although the assize of bread made a good attempt, bread weights were inconsistently based on the going local rate of grain, and weights differed throughout the country. The Judgment of the Pillary was a law spelling out procedures to investigate and punish offenders10.

In times of famine or grain shortages, authorities had the power to