Why the change of heart? Well, I have a big yard to manipulate and I like to cook odd things.
Several years ago when I was living in Paris, my love of odd and French cuisine lead me to purchase a cookbook regarding the art of cooking with flowers. I happened upon the tome in one of those bookstore-warehouse places in the Marais where you feel as though you have entered into a completely different world where gravity and rational space are of little importance amongst the piles of books, rickety staircases and the nagging feeling that while you are not outdoors, the place doesn’t quite qualify as indoors.
As I recall I picked up this specimen at a store located somewhere around the end of the Rue des Rosiers where the Rue Pavée and Rue Mahler create a pair of impossible small ‘blocks’—even by Parisian standards. I would further suppose that the emporium might have been located a touch south near these streets, off of the Rue du Roi de Sicile. I think the entrance was on an oblique corner, but then again… I did a lot of wandering in the Marais and it was years ago.
I give good directions and good advice.
The cookbook is entitled La Cuisine aux fleurs, written by Véronique de Meyer, photography by Michel de Meyer and published in 2000 by Flammarion. Some of the necessary specimens are common garden blossoms, easily found while walking the dog in any part of the United States: marigolds, geraniums, pansies, sunflowers, roses, dianthus, etc.
Others are require a little more work: phlox, borage (sometimes also called starflowers), heather, fuchsias, Oriental poppies, and the flowers from various herbs and vegetables.
Either way—since stealing flowers from parks and neighbors is frowned up—you kind of need something of a garden—or at least a window box—to gain any benefit from the enchanting recipes of de Meyer. It literally took me five years to pull it together to try one of her recipes. I waited a long time to get my 6 Euros worth of joy.
So here I am, trying to stock myself with floral varieties conducive to faisant la cuisine français aux fleurs, in addition to a tomato, zucchini and colorful peppers.
Since I am a researcher and, therefore, prone to over-research even the seemingly simplest things, my journey involved looking into the French wildflower situation.
What a happy event, because I came upon a quite enjoyable website: L’Atelier Vert: Everything French Gardening. Some areas do not appear to have been updated recently, but still, since I discovered it yesterday afternoon, I am enjoying the browsing experience. Plus they have a shop, and online shopping is just so fun.
So at the end of the day, that website is the hot tip that this post is all about.
That, and if you are interested, the de Meyer cookbook is fantastically fun and delicious—if you can find it.
If not, I encourage you to acquire a like-inclined author and see what they have to say on the matter. People go crazy when you serve them flowers. It’s novel, yet oh-so-fancy. I am pondering investing in the much more luxuriously priced La Cuisine des fleurs by Alice Caron-Lambert.
Or I might just start a Christmas list a little bit early this year and put it at the top.