Can a minute, inconspicuous ingredient shape one’s values and cultural traditions? Well, there aren’t many, but the spice of saffron has clearly proved to contradict this phenomenon. Commonly eaten in Iran, India, Greece, and Spain, Saffron is a spice used in foods to create vibrant colors and exotic tastes. Saffron has an aroma and flavor which cannot be duplicated, and a chemical make-up which, when understood, helps chefs know how to best release that flavor and aroma in a wide variety of foods. Even though I am only half persian from my mother’s side, saffron has played a significant role in my culture and has shaped the kind of person I am. My mother came to the United States at the age of 5. She lived Queens for her entire childhood, and adapted to the American culture. However, the Iranian cuisine, consisting of saffron in a wide range of foods, did not change in her household. As a result, she passed down the Iranian cuisine to my sister and I. She often put saffron in rice, creating a vibrant yellow color. On holidays and special occasions, she does not normally make persian foods because the taste does not always appeal to everyone. Therefore, she often makes persian foods during the week. Saffron is not only a vital ingredient in the persian cuisine, but also shapes the person I am and aspire to be. Because my culture is mixed, I experience a wide variety of foods and therefore very tolerant of other cultures.
– Cameron Klepper