Wednesday, July 6, 2011

FOODFIC: Forget-Her-Nots - Amy Brecount White

Pretty much all I know about flowers is that they look pretty, but for Laurel – or “Floral Laurel,” the apprentice flowerspeaker – every plant has a meaning.

Some are obvious: roses for love; forget-me-nots to forget me not! That was interesting and all, but I came for the food! Lucky for me, Laurel’s language of flowers book had just as many edible plants as decorative ones. 

I loved reading (and then re-evaluating relevant meals I’ve eaten) the meanings of: thyme (activity), sage (esteem), rosemary (remembrance), parsley (feast/festivities), mint (virtue), marjoram (blushes), fennel (worthy of all praise/strength), coriander (hidden worth) and basil (hatred). 

*Insert sound of needle screeching across record here*

How can hatred possibly have anything to do with Italian food? Seriously, I used to wish (okay, still do) that I was Italian just for the family dinners!

But in this story, basil does not bring out the best in Laurel; it is in fact so powerful that she alienates pretty much everyone she knows before she stops inhaling it like a junkie. Then just before I head to the kitchen to purge my spice rack, Laurel differentiates between basil and sweet basil, which is the one you cook with, and which means (much more appropriately) good wishes.

Whew, that’s all I have to say. Oh, and pass the tomato-mozzarella salad, please.


  1. A nice big Italian dinner...yum. Have you read The School of Essential Ingredients? The way foods are described and utilized in the novel are great. The only problem is that the book will leave you hungry!

  2. I loved this book. It was beautifully written and really interesting to learn about the language of flowers. BTW - Yum. Tomato-Mozz. salad is delicious!

  3. I just made a big batch of bruschetta right before I read this post. Does my extra addition of basil mean that I'm feeling extra hatred? Yikes. Hope not.

  4. I knew I was hungry for something and now I now what it is - anything Italian. Thanks for the review. You make me want to read the book and learn something about a subject I know absolutely nothing about - the meanings of plants. Besides the cover is so pretty.

  5. The book sounds really interesting and I love the way you reviewed it! Absolutely fab!!