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 the book’s 101 recipes, sourced from past issues of Kew magazine. Featuring plants from around the world, the recipes range from healthy and unusual salads and soups to hearty main dishes and sumptuous desserts, including parsnip tart, truffle crepes, Cincinnati chilli, orange vacherin, Kashmiri fish 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 their origins and tips on 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.