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Distributed for Reaktion Books


A Global History

Distributed for Reaktion Books


A Global History

Explore the dramatic history of the world’s most expensive spice in Saffron: A Global History. Literally worth their weight in gold, sunset-red saffron threads are prized internationally. Saffron can be found in cave art in Mesopotamia, in the frescoes of ancient Santorini, in the dyed wrappings of Egyptian mummies, in the saffron-hued robes of Buddhist monks, and in unmistakable dishes around the world. It has been the catalyst for trade wars as well as smuggling schemes and used in medicine and cosmetics. Complete with delicious recipes and surprising anecdotes, this book traces the many paths taken by saffron, revealing the allure of a spice sought globally by merchants, chefs, artists, scientists, clerics, traders, warriors, and black-market smugglers.

160 pages | 54 color plates, 4 halftones | 4 3/4 x 7 3/4


Food and Gastronomy

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"Saffron is the world’s most expensive, and some say prized ingredient, but not many of us think of its many health benefits. Journalist, historian, and food writer, Ganeshram does just that—and a whole lot more. She explores its dramatic history and recipes."

PS News (Australia)

"The book, like others in the Edible series, is beautifully presented and is best-suited to those with an interest in culinary history. It is full of interesting anecdotes and references to saffron in art and literature."

OxVeg News

"Although diminutive in size—one hundred and fifty pages, many of them with images or illustrations—this book by New York–based chef and culinary historian Ganeshram captures much of the reverence and mystique associated with saffron, the delicate stigmas plucked from the flowers of Crocus sativus, from antiquity to the present. . . . Ganeshram crafts a compelling tale of saffron’s ‘circuitous route’ over the centuries, from its humble wild origins in ancient Greece to exotic cultivar and precious trade commodity, shaping tastes and traditional dishes in various ways as it was acculturated into cuisines across the globe. The geographical transference of saffron is fascinating, its spread mapping the rise and fall of conquerors and empires that took the spice from Europe to the Orient, to England and the New World and eventually, the Antipodes."

Australian Garden History

“This book is much like the ingredient it focuses on: exquisite. A brilliant and informative book by an uber talented author.”

Monica Bhide, author of "Modern Spice: Inspired Indian Flavors for the Contemporary Kitchen"

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