Stripping away the rose colored glasses of denial concerning my reality. Getting in touch with truth. Reaching out to others in empathy concerning their reality and their walk to truth.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

A Rare Find

The most precious and most expensive spice in the world is saffron. The filaments, or threads, are actually the dried stigmas of the saffron flower, "Crocus Sativus Linnaeus". Each flower contains only three stigmas. These threads must be picked from each flower by hand, and more than 75,000 of these flowers are needed to produce just one pound of saffron filaments, making it the world’s most precious spice. Because of saffron's strong coloring power and intense flavor, it can be used sparingly. Saffron is used both for its bright orange-yellow color and for its strong, intense flavor and aroma.

I love cooking with saffron, a wonderful taste indeed; I use it on special occasions. There’s nothing like making rice from scratch and pouring the saffron flavoring over it when I’ve finished steaming the rice. Served with a Persian dish called Ghormeh Saabsi, it’s quite the treat. I have a passion for Persian food as well. I once lived near three women from Iran and saffron was almost a daily item for them to use. I really miss their cooking!

Along with sharing cooking in a small community, I found that our differences in culture did not have to divide us. One of their sayings became a favorite of mine: “Gorbana shomah,” which translates to “G-d be with you or bless you.” More and more I learned their language, Farsi”. One day I was visiting their apartment when a visitor from Iran showed up. The visitor heard me speaking downstairs and asked who I was? The three women told her that I was an American. She ran downstairs to see, because she did not believe I wasn’t Iranian. Seems in Farsi I have a southern accent; well that figures!

My point is that having friends that you cross cultural, religious, and civilian divides is just as rare and precious as those saffron filaments. Think about that a moment. Saffron was our initial connection, as we talked about recipes one spring day in the parking lot.

It was a wonderful moment in time in the late seventies right before the hostage situation in Tehran. After that life became a blur as one by one they disappeared from this country. I felt so sorry that there was something for them to fear in the United States. But today I understand more as I see our own citizens battling the same issues of privacy and safety. There is neither.
Today when I purchase saffron I remember those women and their wanting to have a better life. I hope they’ve had much success. “Gorbana shomah”.

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