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Kew's Global Kitchen Cookbook is a visual celebration of the amazing variety of edible plants and how we can use them. The range of edible plants is far broader than we may suppose, with huge variety, from all corners of the world, and continually changing in how they are used and perceived. Some now regarded as familiar were once exotic, such as tea, grapes and chillies, and the source of fortunes for those who 'discovered' and transported them, such as the staples of the Dutch East Indies spice trade – nutmeg, cinnamon and black peppercorns.
A narrative main introduction gives context to the plants that provide the ingredients for Kew's Global Kitchen Cookbook's 101 recipes featuring plants from around the world, including parsnip tart, truffle crepes, Cincinnati chilli, orange vacherin, Kashmiri curry, plantation smoothie, sweetcorn and crab fritters and pineapple cheesecake with chilli. A further section features the herbs of Europe and the Mediterranean and spices from the East, with details on how they grow, tips for growing windowsill box herbs, and how to use and combine different flavours to the best effect.
Each plant has its own story of travel and adventure, and historical, botanical and economic themes are brought to life through the text and beautiful botanical illustrations from Kew's archives. Relishing edible plants today needs to go hand in hand with acknowledging how lucky we are to have access to so much diversity, and how we need to preserve that for the future.
Carolyn Fry is a journalist and former editor of Geographical, the magazine of the Royal Geographical Society, and author of The Plant Hunters (Andre Deutsch, 2009). The Last Great Plant Hunt (Kew Publishing, 2011) and The World of Kew (BBC Books, 2006).
"A new recipe book with illustrations from the Kew Archive considers how today's cultivated foods first arrived at our tables."
– Caroline Fry, Telegraph Magazine