Ginger, with its rasping heat and woody notes, is perhaps Asia’s most important spice. It’s certainly one of the oldest, with its early journeys predating records so its continent of origin is unknown, though Southern China seems a fair bet. Linguistic clues point to it being taken on voyages by the Austronesians spreading across the Malay Archipelago 6,000 years ago.
In the millennia since, ginger has woven its way into cuisines around the world and earned a reputation variously as a symbol of wealth, the drink of paradise, a fiery aphrodisiac, and an antiemetic to combat nausea. Join Eleanor Ford, acclaimed food writer and author of The Nutmeg Trail: Recipes and Stories Along the Ancient Spice Routes as she explores ginger’s history, lore, science, and flavor, then turns to the kitchen where she shares how home cooks can use it to best effect.