The history of saffron cultivation and usage dates back over 3,000 years and spans cultures and continents. Take a trip around the world through the eyes of this exclusive spice.
“Trade Route Talks” are series of monthly discussions about agriculture, trade, and how our taste for foods have changed the landscape of our world. Students are greeted with a topical appetizer and, after the conversation, participate in the hands-on cooking of a dish which uses the theme of the day as the main attraction. ($55)
Join me for a series of monthly discussions about agriculture, trade and how our taste for foods have changed the landscape of our world. Students are greeted with a topical appetizer and, after the conversation, participate in the hands-on cooking of a dish which uses the theme of the day as the main attraction.
Before it became a staple in every kitchen pantry, salt was extremely valuable and economies were based on its production and trade. Let’s crisscross the globe with one of the world’s principal trading commodities. ($45)
An ancient medical elixir is the ancestor for a family of drinks.
Mexican horchata is the agua fresca that dreams are made of. While sweet and slightly creamy, it usually isn’t dairy-derived. Instead, it’s made by soaking white rice in water and cinnamon for several hours, straining, and adding sugar. Vaguely reminiscent of a delicate rice pudding, there’s nothing more refreshing than a cold cup of horchata on a hot summer day.
But long ago, horchata was more than just a refreshment. While the Mexican version of the drink first appeared in the 16th century, its roots date back to an ancient Roman medical elixir made from barley. In fact, the word horchata comes from the Latin hordeum (barley) and hordeata (drink made with barley). From its role as medicine in antiquity, the beverage took a circuitous route across Europe and across the Atlantic to Latin America. Along the way, horchata became a whole family of drinks made from various grains, nuts, and seeds.
This essay was first published in the inaugural issue of Life & Thyme Post , a limited edition printed newspaper for members. Join Life & Thyme.
Four individuals work across a spectrum of platforms to bring positive change to the coffee industry and its people.
Illustrations by Melanie Loon
When coffee made its splash in Europe during the seventeenth century, it was a mysterious and fashionable drink. Introduced to Europe from the Middle East via its native Africa, the warm caffeinated beverage provided a much-needed jolt from the daze Europeans had been under during the Middle Ages. Unlike ale, the beverage of choice at the time, coffee provided clarity of thought and quickly became the preferred new drink among scientists, philosophers, businessmen and politicians.
Coffeehouses that sprung up in cities like London and Paris provided fertile ground for revolutionary thought. Later in New York City and Boston, they continued as places to debate current events, and even shape the future. Thomas Jefferson is even rumored to have drafted the Declaration of Independence in a Parisian coffeehouse.
But as forward-thinking as coffeehouses and the people in them were said to be, women were not allowed entry.
Perhaps the strongest example in the twenty-first century of a woman securing a spot at the coffee counter is Norwegian-born Erna Knusten, who in 1974, founded the “specialty coffee” industry and coined the phrase. But centuries after the Age of Enlightenment, and decades after Knusten’s time, gender inequality remains the norm in the industry.
Today, some of the strongest voices within the specialty coffee industry are not founders or CEOs. They are women and members of the LGBTQ community who are working to make profound changes from within. We had the opportunity to speak with a few of those leading voices. Collectively, Laila Ghambari, Michelle Johnson, Umeko Motoyoshi and Ximena Rubio join countless others in forcing the industry to look inward and confront issues of inclusion, diversity and equity.