Thursday, June 10, 2010

When did perfume become more important than food?

"The Unlikely Lavender Queen" by Jeannie Ralston

Don't get me wrong, I like perfume.  Recently while reading, "The Unlikely Lavender Queen," I came across this thought-provoking quote: 

"Originally brought to [Provence] by the Romans lavender took a liking to the southern slopes of the Alps with their well-drained soil, and began to grow wild in the region.  At the beginning of the twentieth century, farmers cleared out almond orchards, ... and in their place, began cultivating lavender to supply perfumers in Grasse."

This history ignited thoughts about the shift from growing wholesome food (in this case almonds, a great nut both in taste and health benefits) to plant a crop with less nutritional significance, although lavender can be used as a herb in cooking and in marinades.  This reminds me about what I heard someone say once, "we pay good amounts of money for things that we can survive without, like diamonds, but things we can't live without, such as water, are free."  Ironic.

I've become slightly obsessed with lavender, and wanted to attend the lavender festival in Blanco, TX this weekend, where this book is set, but Chris says it's too far to do on a whim.   Recently I was thrilled when I received an email from Local Harvest that there is a lavender festival near Salina at Prairie Lavender Farm in June!  Disappointingly, I have a schedule conflict and won't be able to go - but it's on the calendar in hopes that next year will work.

My beautiful husband, knowing my disappointment in missing two lavender festivals, got me a little lavender of my own.  What a dear man he is :)

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