I am reading It Started in Eden by Bertha S. Dodge. I borrowed it from the library and its publication date is 1979. A little old, but kind of interesting. The author writes about how important plants (ex, food crops) have been to human history. It has a lot of history of the competition for control of various valuable plant products. She goes into great detail about the "wars" between the Spanish, English, and others over various trade routes. These trade routes transported chocolate, tea, coffee and spices from the East.
As a tea drinker, I found it interesting that many attempts to grow the plant in the U.S. failed. The plant, Camellia sinensis, is grown commercially in Charleston, South Carolina. It also grows in Hawaii and on the East Coast of the U.S.
An interesting fact: spices that make so much food tasty were originally used to cover the taste of bad food. This potentially explains why so many "hot" areas of the world have some of the spiciest foods.