Because you can also become native to place by eating the place-based foods. For some folks, that’s all you have. That itself is decolonial work because you’re getting away from the standard American diet that tells you that you’re supposed to eat broccoli all year long, you’re supposed to eat berries all year long, you’re supposed to consume dairy all year long. In nature, that’s not how it works. When we begin to pay attention to the seasons and begin to pay attention to what is growing, then we begin to understand food differently.
90–94% of the world’s saffron comes from Iran, where it is grown mostly in the northeastern Khorasan region, which also includes parts of Afghanistan. A painstakingly intimate human endeavor, the harvesting of saffron requires the most delicate form of labor and attention. The spice comes from a purple flower which must be hand-picked. Aromatic and full of bright golden color, saffron is used to make dishes across Iran, with local variety too. Saffron is integral to the bright yellow color of tahchin, northern Iranian kateh, and to the jeweled zereshk-polow. Its subtle taste strikes through khoresht-e gheimeh bademjan and can be used to make a range of desserts including paloodeh Shirazi, sholeh zard, or saffron ice cream. Its use in Iran goes back to the 10th century BC, making it a part of Iran’s culinary and agricultural history, and carrying with it a sense of decadent ritual. And so, when a magazine like Bon Appétit highlights the ingredient without citing the ingredient’s historical and cultural use, it participates in an act of cultural erasure, reproducing the violence of sanctions.