Our fascination with ideas, objects and places, both classic and commonplace
IN PRAISE OF FLOWERS
Words: FABIOLA MONTEIRO
Discovering floral flavours and fragrances in places near and afar
Flowers aren’t just pretty. I remember the first time I ate the bloom of a garlic chives plant was while picking produce for a cooking class in South Australia. The flower was pungent and packed with flavour. That day, I munched on pretty purple snow pea flowers (they tasted leafy but sweet) and rocket flowers (they tasted exactly like rocket leaves).
Edible flowers have taken the culinary world by storm in recent years, playing their part in attractive plating. This summer, at the Michelin-starred 108 in Copenhagen, my lamb tartare came adorned with dainty cornflowers and their delicious whisky cocktail had a pink petal in it. But beware — it’s not all rosy. According to a story in The Guardian last year, Instagrammers took it too far. Examples include a “cake strewn with pretty narcissi — whose toxic crystals can cause incredibly painful swelling and sores”, “a smoothie topped with catharanthus, containing acutely toxic alkaloids used in chemotherapy”, and “a delicious dessert embellished with a pile of rhododendrons, the consumption of which would be life-threateningly toxic”.
Flowers, of course, are important not just as a repository of flavour profiles (or for their ’grammable quotient). Look closely, and they’re everywhere — attracting the birds and the bees with their sweet smells and vibrant colours. Heck, without the jasmine and roses from these specific fields in France, there’d be no Chanel No 5. At their most basic, flowers are precursors to plump fruits. As a city slicker, this is sometimes easy to forget. I hadn’t given thought to the origin of sweet red apples until a few months ago. But in the Himachali town of Tabo, apple orchards are aplenty. When I was there, the trees were in bloom with delicate white flowers.
My appreciation of flowers — on my plate as well as on trees — is newfound, and it has made me more mindful. For instance, in Mumbai, where I’ve always lived, the hot, humid summer makes everything sticky. Of late, I’ve been looking forward to the season. Clusters of sunshine-yellow copper pod flowers appear on treetops. Come May, orange gulmohar blooms — or “May flowers” as I grew up calling them — are a pleasant sight against blue skies. Later in the month, as they fall to carpet the ground, they add colour to the city’s sidewalks and streets. The fragrant frangipani also blooms, its recognisable scent a relief from city fumes. The little things can make life sweeter.
Fabiola Monteiro is a Senior Editor at Paper Planes. She writes about travel, food and culture, and in the past, has worked with prominent travel magazines. She's on Instagram at @fabiolamonteiro and on Twitter at @thefabmonteiro.
Things to Read: Peppa Pig, Typing in All Caps & More
Stories from around the web that found our fancy
Further Reading via Champaca Bookstore, Library and Café
A cosy new space in Bangalore
Further Reading: For the Rains
A list of recommended reading to lose yourself in while skies heaving with grey clouds threaten the onslaught of a downpour
Further Reading: A Peek at Tarq’s Bookshelf
Hena Kapadia, founder of Tarq, lets us in on her well-catalogued collection
Further Reading: On Nature
A list of recommended reading that brings the living world alive, intertwined with food, natural history, adventure, curiosity and more
Further Reading via Purbasha Sarkar
Web Editor at the Delhi-based May Day Bookstore and LeftWord.com
Further Reading: On Love
Recommended reading on love in all its many forms
Further Reading: A Peek at Pooja Dhingra’s Bookshelf
The Le15 pastry chef speaks about her reading habits and favourite books
Further Reading via Rajni Malhotra, Bahrisons Booksellers
Curator of books at the Delhi store
Navigating the tough terrain of a climber’s mind
Illustrated Books for All!
These titles from Tara Books are beautiful and compelling to read
An Ode to the Anthology
These books from Marg make for rich bite-sized reading for the festive season.
THE TALE OF THE ITINERANT CANOPY
Tracing the journey of a marble canopy across Bombay
Travelling through time at Baradari
Jaipur’s City Palace reinvented
Further Reading via Virat Chandhok
Curator of books at Bombay’s Wayword and Wise
2017 Christmas Playlist
Tunes to celebrate Christmas
Introducing The Move Magazine
A UK based quarterly
Introducing Anxy Magazine
Venturing into mental health issues
Introducing Drift Magazine
A New York based biannual magazine
Introducing Lost Magazine
Self-discovery through travel
Boys equal girls
Introducing Science of the Secondary Zine
Issue 1 – Apple
Introducing Curry Magazine
Exploring communities and culture
Introducing Accent Magazine
A photography &lifestyle magazine
Introducing Cereal Magazine - Volume 13
The redesigned CEREAL
Introducing Pasture Magazine
A US based food quarterly
2016 on Instagram
The year in a nutshell
Introducing 212 Magazine
Introducing Concorde Zine
Featuring photo stories from India
Introducing Filmme Fatales Zine
Films and feminism
Introducing Weapons of Reason Issue 3
‘The New Old’
A ‘strong’ collective
Introducing Lunch Lady Magazine
An Australian quarterly
Happy 3rd Anniversary, White Print
White Print completes 3 years
Introducing Weapons of Reason #2
Introducing Sirene Journal
An independent Italian publication
Introducing The Great Discontent Magazine
Introducing MARFA JOURNAL
A biannual publication made by artists for artists.
Introducing Another Escape Magazine
Lifestyle, creative culture and sustainable living.
Introducing MOOD Zine
Music & Food Magazine.
Introducing Holo Magazine
‘Emerging trajectories in art, science and technology’
Introducing Lagom Magazine
A UK based lifestyle magazine
Introducing All-In Magazine
A biannual arts and culture print publication
Introducing Cherry Bombe Magazine
A magazine dedicated to food and women
Introducing FUET Magazine
Food and its peripheries
Introducing Apartamento Magazine
An everyday life interiors magazine
Introducing frankie Magazine
‘Dear frankie’ – Our letter to frankie.
Introducing Kyoorius Magazine
An ode to the creative community
Introducing [Wherever] Magazine
An Out of Place Journal
Introducing Lucky Peach Magazine
A quarterly on food, writing and art.
Introducing The Travel Almanac Magazine
Examination of post-touristic matters
Introducing Perdiz Magazine
“Happiness is Contagious”.
Introducing Dumbo Feather Magazine
Conversations with extraordinary people.
Introducing Avaunt Magazine
Form the makers of PORT
Introducing Four&Sons Magazine
An Australian biannual publication
Introducing Works That Work Magazine
a self-published magazine about creation
This April we did something new again!
A playlist from the best
Introducing It's Nice That Annual 2014
Now Available on our Online Store
Introducing 100% Zine
Where artists doodle and sketch as they wander.
Introducing The Helter Skelter Magazine
Anthology of New Writing.
Magazine Design, has come to be recognized as a force to reckon with and hence deserving of an award category of its own by many creative communities.
It was a woeful day yesterday, when yet again our right to freedom of expression was threatened and saw retaliation unmatched and cowardly,