Thursday, May 13, 2010

Flowers on food

I used to have a real problem with this: flowers on or in food. I thought it the most pretentious act of food gaucheness imaginable, usually perpetrated by people who couldn't really cook. I've always believed that everything on the plate should be there to be eaten. And flowers didn't always cut it. What am I going to get out of a viola in a salad, really? The vinaigrette and the flower is just an act of cruelty.

For the same reason I hate 'garnishes'. The sprig of herb sticking out of something. Why is it there? I do not eat branches of rosemary. If it adds to the dish, yes, if it's going to land up on the edge of the plate, no.

So why am I crumbling chive flowers and dotting thyme blossoms on my food?

Well, either I have joined the ranks of the bad taste gurus or...Maybe I've just lightened up. It happens, you know. Sometimes. Also, my terrace is overflowing with them!

The spinach tart I made few weeks ago called for thyme flowers. And that was Roger Verge. It's the first time in my years of making it that I've actually had the flowers to use. Is it effete? Maybe.

For the scrambled eggs and grits we had for breakfast the other day, it was just pretty. So, slippery slope.

An aside: I am so sick of the fish plates. They have got to go. Time for new plates.

On the subject of flowers and food: does anyone reading this have a really good picture of Elfin thyme that I might use for an online article about thyme? With credit, of course. I was so sure I'd taken pictures of my mom's beautiful bowlful in Cape Town, but they are nowhere to be found.


  1. I have been won over to flowers in food by the writing of Sarah Raven. Have you read her? I am particularly fond of nasturtium and calendula marigolds

  2. I think a green salad benefits from some scattered nasturtium petals...
    Yes, I've done it for years. I figure if it's edible and looks "pretty", why not.

    To elizabethm...yes, I have one of her books and several of her famous relative, Sackville-West.

  3. When I was a little girl, my best friend and I shared April birthdays. Her mom, a fabulous cook, always decorated Nancy's birthday cake with early spring flowers. Each year's cake seemed more magical than the last.

    We've been eating nasturtiums and chive blossoms for years. They are delicious, so why not?

  4. I love flowers on food - especially in salad. These are particularly pretty...


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