Ramin Ganeshram, "Saffron: A Global History" (Reaktion Books, 2020)

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Explore the dramatic history of the world’s most expensive spice in Saffron: A Global History (Reaktion Books, 2020). 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.

Saffron is part of the Edible Series published by Reaktion Books. It is a revolutionary series of books on food and drink which explores the rich history of man’s consumption. Each book provides an outline for one type of food or drink, revealing its history and culture on a global scale. 50 striking illustrations, with approximately 25 in colour, accompany these engaging and accessible texts, and offer intriguing new insights into their subject. Key recipes as well as reference material accompany each title. Also available through The University of Chicago Press.

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Ramin Ganeshram is a journalist, chef, and public historian and the author of a number of cookbooks and The General’s Cook: A Novel.

Amir Sayadabdi is a lecturer in Anthropology at Victoria University of Wellington. He is mainly interested in anthropology of food and its intersection with gender studies, migration studies, and studies of race, ethnicity, and nationalism.

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