Nutmeg is a seed from a tree, that is finely grated or ground to create a spice.. and then there's Mace.. which we'll get to later.
As a teenager I would often look at the whole nutmegs in my mother's pantry and wonder at the rumors of nutmeg being a narcotic.. I just couldn't see it. Thirty years on and the internet can provide me with all the information I need to confirm these rumours. Yes, it can cause hallucinations if you eat a lot of it (a substance called myristicin).. but also some other symptoms such as vomiting etc.. and apparently takes a while to work. This is all hearsay and internet research.....
In terms of cooking, I am a big fan of nutmeg in both savory and sweet dishes. For savory dishes I use nutmeg in besciamel sauce, in the filling for chicken tortellini, pumpkin soup, but my favorite dish is slowed cooked borlotti beans with nutmeg and prosciutto. My favorite sweet dish is an adaptation of the recipe for a Persian Love Cake, found in the September 2008 issue of Gourmet Traveller.
For these recipes, you will need to go to early August, 2010.
Just to finish off: Mace versus Nutmeg. Yes, they are so similar you could almost, I say almost, interchange their use. I used to think Mace was the cheaper version of Nutmeg, but not necessarily so. Nutmeg is the seed, and Mace comes from the covering of the fruit. For further info, this site is well worth a visit: