But wait. No white box, smelling of Chinese noodles? No platter of Indian curry with Naan? Not even a big square carton prophesising an Italian twist to the evening? Not tonight.
The long, thin paper wrapping he has in hand doesn’t bring to mind any meal you’ve had before and the smells are more reminiscent of a Saturday afternoon in the park than the war room kitchen of a takeaway.
Tonight, your meal will be a bouquet of scents and shapes that will wake your palate in ways it has long forgotten. Tonight, your man will surprise you with nothing less… than flowers.
Dandelions in the Old Testament, daylilies and chrysanthemums among the Chinese and Greeks, roses and violets for the Romans, flowers have been a worldwide staple of many a kitchen throughout the centuries. Anglo-Norman cooks were inspired by hawthorn blossoms and elder flowers, the Renaissance saw dishes coloured with cowslips, roses, and marigolds and Victorians delighted in spicing up their salads with violets, borage and primroses.
In time, though, with the constant evolution of the kitchen’s arts and science presenting a myriad of processes and preparations, we seem to have lost, or “forgotten”, a few ingredients along the way.
And were it not for some historical pioneers of the kitchen, including Marc Veyrat and his unceasing ode to mountain plants and herbs, flowers would never have blossomed again to gracing the topside of the plates of the rich and famous… or at least the more intrepid organically inclined.
Flower and Fruit Salad – 4 persons
Choose flowers which haven’t been chemically treated
Petals of one Sunflower, chopped
Petals of one Rose, chopped
10 leaves of Mint, chopped
2 peaches, diced
50g of raspberries
20 red grapes, chopped in half
In bowl, mix the fruits and the flowers. Spread with some rose and sunflower petals. Ready to serve!