Turmeric is used most often for its brilliant golden-orange color. It contains the compound curcumin, which is a strong anti-inflammatory. Though it can be substituted for saffron for color, there is no comparison in flavor.
Turmeric is the main ingredient in most curry powders. For thousands of years, turmeric's main use was as a dye. In the Western world, turmeric often serves as a coloring agent for cheese, soups, sauces, butter, margarine, syrups and mustards.
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And he gave it for his opinion, that whoever could make two ears of corn, or two blades of grass, to grow upon a spot of ground where only one grew before, would deserve better of mankind, and do essential service to his country, than the whole race of politicians put together.
— Jonathan Swift, Gulliver's Travels