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Description - Secrets of Saffron by Pat Willard

Saffron, a rare and evocative spice, has been used throughout history as a medicine, flavouring for food and as a colour dye for clothes. This entertaining and extravagant book, complete with fabulous ancient and modern recipes, outlines saffron's history. It has been used for thousands of years, in Cleopatra's palaces and driven crusaders to their deaths. It is still an exotic spice and must be gathered by hand from the fields of Southern Europe. A practical section on how to use saffron is included and hints of what to look for when buying. This is a book of enormous charm, offering a rare look at this most precious spice, as well as recipes for its enjoyment.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780285636361
ISBN-10: 0285636367
Format: Hardback
(141mm x 216mm x 25mm)
Pages: 240
Imprint: Souvenir Press Ltd
Publisher: Souvenir Press Ltd
Publish Date: 31-Oct-2002
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Book Reviews - Secrets of Saffron by Pat Willard

UK Kirkus Review » Saffron: even the name is evocative, conjuring visions of the souk, and exotic perfume wafting through desert air. In this case, the truth about this most precious of spices is no less glamorous and exciting than the myth, and food writer Pat Willard has succumbed to its lure. In one of the most memorable passages of this part travelogue, part food history and part recipe book, Willard describes the moment she first tasted saffron and developed a passion for the golden stamens of the humble crocus that would take her on a global quest. The healing power of the bittersweet saffron that warmed her frozen bones one cold winter when a half-familiar stranger visited her house and cooked a restorative broth has been known to mankind for centuries. The saffron-related legends of the Greeks and Sumerians gave way to the practical recipes of the Egyptians, with their belief in the costly spice as a powerful restorative, and to the efforts of Alexander the Great to popularise its use among the masses. The Phoenicians took a mercantile interest in saffron, and the Romans used it for everything from dye to cosmetics, but it was the barbarians' invasion of Europe during the Dark Ages that drove the plant back to North Africa, where it continued to be used by the Moors. An intriguing sidenote is its subsequent introduction into England, where production became centred on the otherwise unremarkable Essex town of Saffron Walden. Recipes are scattered throughout, from the impractical, such as whole roasted swan, to Valencian paella and saffron buns. The inevitable culmination of the account, when Willard cultivates a wild patch of ground near her house to grow her own croci, harvest the saffron and cook a memorable feast for her friends, is a moment of quiet triumph and of a long-held passion satisfied. (Kirkus UK)


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Author Biography - Pat Willard

Pat Willard is the author of Pie Every Day and A Soothing Broth. She writes for a number of cookery magazines and tends her own saffron garden in New York.