Turkish Delight

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Tulips on platter, Topkapi Palace, Istanbul

 

By now you might know that tulips play an important role in Baker’s Magic. Well, we visited the country of Turkey this month, and I noticed something strange and unexpected. There were tulips everywhere! Not growing, of course — it is December, after all. But there they were in the art — in mosaics, carpets, fabrics, and tiles.

 

Tulips and Turkey? But…why?

 

 

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Tulips on wall tiles, Topkapi Palace, Istanbul

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Tulips on carpet, Carpet Museum, Istanbul

It turns out that tulips come from Turkey. That’s right — we might think of them as Dutch, but they aren’t. Originally they grew wild in Asia Minor — what is now Turkey — and possibly in what is now Iran. Turkish people began cultivating tulips nearly a thousand years ago. In 1554 the Holy Roman Emperor’s ambassador to the Court of Sultan Suleiman in Constantinople (now Istanbul) first saw them. He expressed his amazement at the flowers’ beauty, and the Sultan sent some bulbs back to Europe. They came to the attention of Carolus Clusius, a botanist in Leiden, Holland. Fascinated, Clusius studied them and gave many bulbs to his friends. With that, the craze for tulips — known as Tulipmania — and their place in Dutch history began.

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Tulip fields, Keukenhoff Gardens, Netherlands

Reviews!

The reviews for Baker’s Magic have begun to trickle in…and they are looking great! Even Kirkus has given the book a wholeheartedly positive review. Publishers Weekly liked it. And my first blog reviewer not only loved the book but made the Bouts Buns from the recipe in the back (and from the photos, they turned out perfectly)!

A few pull-out lines:

Zahler (Sleeping Beauty’s Daughters) has created a cozy fantasy adventure with tension, twists, and sweet treats. Bee and her companions are quick-thinking and determined heroes, and their journey to right wrongs should appeal to a broad range of readers. (PW)

While this joyful, creative adventure is filled with pirates, magic, missing trees, and a cuddly hedgehog, it is more than just a sweet ride. At its core, this is a story of bravery, resilience, and love. (Kirkus)

As they say here in London: HURRAH!