Friday, July 8, 2011
To taste a rose
When I was a child, I tried to eat flowers. I don't remember doing it, but it was captured on film more than once, so I know it's true.
It was rather a family joke, "the kid who ate flowers," but I was told by my somewhat sophisticated mother, that eating flowers was perfectly okay (as long as it was the right flower). One should not eat foxgloves. That would kill you. Violets? Fine. Especially candied violets. Nasturtiums were also fine, and looked very nice in a salad.
My mother taught me that food was not just about the taste buds. She taught me that beautiful food was usually good food, and a "square meal" was rich in colors and should always smell good.
On top of that, she encouraged everyone to dispense with table manners. On many occasions, while eating meat, she'd say "Oh, just pick it up with your fingers! It's meat!" We'd sit at the table gnawing on bones, practically growling. Napkins (sometimes piles of them) would be in our laps, but otherwise, we ate lamb shanks and bloody steak like a bunch of drunken pirates.
No, I don't do this in public, I don't eat much meat nowadays, and I'm not the hedonistic I used to be or my mother was. I live a simple quiet life without much excitement or growling.
This is all a big preface to my wanting to express exactly why I'm so intoxicated by Kathi Langelier's Wild Rose and Honey Elixir. Kathi hand picks wild rose petals to make this stuff. A crazy amount of work and heart go into each little bottle of all her Herbal Revolution "products." Ah, the word product seems altogether too cold and impersonal to use here, but I digress. . .
A few weeks ago, tired, hot, and ready to go home, I stumbled on to Kathi's booth at the Belfast Farmer's Market. I didn't have my glasses on, and I thought she was selling cold drinks. Maybe it was simply my wish. I told her this, and she said something like, "Well, I do have something you can taste." She handed me a little bottle and I heard the word "rose." Then, I smelled a rose, a perfect rose, a wild rugosa rose.
Someone said to me earlier today, "I don't like the smell of roses. Too sweet." Sorry, but I just don't get that. First off, there isn't just One Rose. There's infinite roses. Roses on a wet day. Roses on a hot day. Roses at their peak, their decline, their first bloom. There's roses that barely smell, and ones that are heady and thick with scent. There are roses that smell pink and there's ones that do indeed smell like white roses and then there's the bitter smell of a yellow rose that makes one think "Is that indeed a rose?" My writing can not do justice to the smell of a rose.
This little bottle had it, the perfect smell of a perfect rose on a perfect summer day on the coast of Maine. Oh. My.
But that wasn't all.
She said, "Taste it."
And I did.
You can find Wild Rose and Honey Elixir on Etsy. You can also read Maria Browning's more coherent musings on this over at her blog. My post was really only meant to be a response to hers, as leaving a comment was too small a venue for my intoxicated with rose rambling.
Image Note: John William Waterhouse "Gather Ye Rosebuds While Ye May" 1908