How did tropical spices, like cinnamon and nutmeg, become so intertwined with the West’s holidays?
I understand Spice Trading Routes and their tremendous influence.
However, these spices seem to be most prevalent during Thanksgiving and Christmas while not at other times of the year. Culinary or otherwise.
I know these spices were expensive, and so most people would not use heavily spiced food for everyday use.
If spices were used most often for special-occasion dishes, then the association will continue in traditional special-occasion food even though the trends for day-to-day food have changed greatly.
As for day-to-day trends, there were spice-and-seasoning blends that have since fallen out of everyday use: powderfort (think Tony Chacherin's in Louisiana for a modern variant), poudre douce (sweet powder), and so on.
I think the two world wars did a lot to break use of these spices in common use in western Europe...they were and are still in common use in modern Iran and Turkey, for a start.
The wars caused major disruption to supply chains and lots of people living in poverty (plus the interwar period was not nice either), and so those seasonings would not have been available.
-tl;dr why are spices so important and ubiquitous in the west, does anybody know?