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Indulging my interest in food and flavor, I love to write about cooking, gardening and life's bounty. My new book - "Discover Cooking with Lavender"- is now available

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Queen of Herbs: Lavender Rules In The Garden, Spa, Kitchen and Everywhere

Nature’s beauty challenges our ability to describe in mere words or even in photographs. Ellen Spector Platt’s new edition of Lavender – How To Grow And Use The Fragrant Herb (Stackpole Books 2009) meets this challenge and then some.

The book, 145 pages, contains photographs of lavender fields, garden paths, wreaths and more. The beauty of lavender dazzles us; however this book invites us to discover more about this plant. Platt’s book describes its history from ancient times when Roman soldiers used the herb to perfume their bath water to now when lavender is celebrated in festivals around the world.

Platt provides useful advice about growing lavender. Full sun is a must for this plant. Good drainage and alkaline soil are also preferred. For harvesting , Platt offers tips for cutting, drying and using lavender making it easy to enjoy its beauty even after summer is over.

Farms and festivals offer visitors opportunities to “observe essential oil being distilled from the harvest; hear the banjo picker, the country trio, the six-string electric violin, or the Celtic fiddle.” Once again Platt speaks to all our senses and invites us to appreciate lavender for its beauty, fragrance, usefulness and its taste. She provides a list of festivals so you can discover and experience lavender yourself.

Cooing with lavender, my favorite part, is now coming into its own in America. In France, lavender has been a favorite in the kitchen for a long time. Platt shares recipes for Poached Apples, Aromatic Chicken and instructions for serving Edible Flowers. I am pleased to have contributed one of my special recipes – Roasted Halibut a la Provence - to this outstanding book.

If you are intrigued with Lavender, this book will help you discover its array of attributes. If you are looking for an unforgettable Mother’s Day gift, look no longer. Pick up a copy of Lavender – How To Grow and Use The Fragrant Herb and why not splurge and add a lavender plant!

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