|photo by ana traina|
The Greeks and Romans were known to decorate their homes with carnations. Carnations are believed to have grown where the teardrops of Mary fell as Christ carried the cross to be crucified, according to early Christian lore. The history of the name of the carnation (dianthus caryophyllus) is translated as "flower of love" or "flower of the gods." The carnation became the flower of Mother's Day during the early 20th century.
Research the uses of carnations to express feelings and emotion. Using carnations to express feelings was especially popular during the Victorian Ages and is still practiced today. The carnation symbolizes attraction, with varying colors of the carnation representing different levels of attraction. For example, light-colored carnations denote attraction and affection, while darker or deeper colors signify deep and lasting love. In most cultures, a white carnation signifies purity or good luck.
I might assume that you didn't know that carnations are not just for fancy bouquets and dashing boutonnieres - but can be eaten, as well. How delightfully fun you say? Well, yes... they are used extensively in ethnic desserts as they reek heavily of spicy cloves, and are one of the 130 different essential plant ingredients used in the ultra-hush-hush recipe for the renowned French beverage, Chartreuse.
Here is an intriguing recipe called "Carnation Pickle," from the book, "The Garden of Pleasant Flowers, published by John Parkinson in 1629:
6 cups carnation flowers
A few cloves
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
2 cups wine vinegar
2 bay leaves
1 stick cinnamon
Strip the petals from the rest of the flower and remove the bitter white portion at the base of the petals with a sharp knife. Lay a thin layer of petals in a wide-mouthed jar and sprinkle with brown sugar. Add another layer and sprinkle with more brown sugar and a few cloves and the coriander seeds. Add more layers and more sugar. Warm the vinegar with the bay leaves and cinnamon for 10 minutes. Pour the hot vinegar over the carnation petals. Seal and let stand for 2 weeks before eating. A peeled, sliced cucumber, or pickling onions, or green peppers, and even sweet corn cut off the cob, can be added to the recipe, alternating layers with the carnation petals. Serve with cheese.
And 請慢用 [请慢用] (qǐng màn yòng) - please eat slowly!!