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197 × 120 × 19 mm
168 pages
57 illustrations, 50 in colour
01 Sep 2016

Edible Flowers A Global History Mary Newman, Constance L. Kirker

Few things in life have as much universal appeal as flowers. But why in the world would anyone eat them? Throughout history Greeks, Romans, Persians, Ottomans, Mayans, Chinese and Indian cooks have all recognized the feast for the senses that flowers brought to their dishes. Today, contemporary chefs and adventurous cooks are using ingredients like flowers in innovative ways, such as in molecular gastronomy and the farm-to-table movement.

Edible Flowers is the fascinating history of how flowers have been used in cooking around the world, from ancient customs to modern kitchens. Exploring cultural, symbolic, and religious aspects, the book travels to the dining rooms of Europe, the Americas, Asia, the Middle East and the Mediterranean, serving up novel ways to prepare and eat soups, salads and stews, garnishes, desserts and beverages. Discover something new about the flowers all around you with this surprising history.

To find out more about the authors, visit their website at constancekirker.com.

‘Broad in scope, Kirkers work explains the use of edible flowers from ancient times to the present day . . . It is a whistlestop tour that stays engaging and the history doesnt simply cherry pick the sentimental stories . . . The book also contains flower-based recipes as well as precautions for eating flowers and, perhaps unlike some of the crops mentioned, it is very easy to digest.’ — English Garden

‘This neat little book is part of a fascinating series called Edible, in which each volume explores the rich history of individual foods and drink from Apple to Whisky, with diversions en route to Olives, Nuts, Onions and Garlic. Did you know that the Romans believed that eating calendula helps you to see fairies? Maybe you want to cook Beef with Rosebuds? A surprising and enjoyable read.’ — Garden Organic magazine

‘Kirker and Newman take us on a journey to the past, going back to the Egyptians, the Greeks and the Romans, and around the world, to discover intriguing traditions and symbols’ — Gambero Rosso

‘This beautifully illustrated, delightful book is one in the long-standing series “Edible,” which focuses on the history of the consumption of specific foods . . . It is well-researched and can be read in a single sitting. Recommended’ — Choice

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Mary Newman has taught at Ohio University and the University of Malta. A member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals, she is also co-author of Why Is This Job Killing Me? (1999).

Constance L. Kirker is a retired Pennsylvania State University professor of art history. An avid gardener and foodie, she has written numerous research publications on food history.


1 The Ancient World

2 The Middle Ages to the Nineteenth Century

3 The Victorian Era to Today

4 Asia

5 The Mediterranean and the Middle East

6 Europe

7 The Americas


Precautions When Eating Edible Flowers

Flower Dinner Menu


Select Bibliography

Websites and Associations


Photo Acknowledgements