When I first laid eyes on Miche Bacher's , I knew it was love. After a quick flip through, I wrote my name on the inside cover -- I haven't done that in ages.
On the cover stands a stunning white cake decorated with a colorful array of flower petals.
"Sprinkle them down like rain, shower them like asteroids -- you are the artist, and you can't go wrong" Miche writes in her instructions for decorating the cake. She later explains how the recipe came to be: At her confectionary shop, , she is often asked to make Funfetti cakes.
"I think flower petals are the original cake confetti. Colorful, flavorful, textural, flower petals," she explains. And so the was born.
Each page in her book reveals a fresh appreciation for the flowers in your garden, at your local market, or even the delicate, spicy orchid garnish on your plate, and history buffs are satiated with short lessons on each feature flower's origins and cultural significance.
Miche's recipes for botanical treats like , Violet Flower Cupcakes, and Rosemary Flower Margaritas prove flowers go way beyond eye candy and into the realm of unforgetably delectable. You'll never look at a bouquet the same way again. If you're seeking a unique gift for the baker or avid gardener in your life, this book would be it.
Here are 10 questions with the author, Miche Bacher:
What inspired you to write a cookbook devoted entirely to flowers?
The subject of cookbook was ultimately the idea of , editor extraordinaire at Quirk books. We were discussing a book idea I had when Margaret asked if I knew anyone or anything about the subject of edible flowers. I have studied and used edible flowers for years, both in my acupuncture and herbal studies and in my culinary work. I have enjoyed using flowers in my food, both sweet and savory, for a long time and though there are other books out there on the subject, I thought I could create one that was so sensual and enticing that a wide audience would be captivated and enter the world of cooking with flowers.
What did you learn in the process of writing this book?
I love stories and in doing the research for Cooking with Flowers, I was able to dig up a lot of stories about the flowers, the origins of their names, the mythology behind their existence. Hibiscus flowers, for instance, are said to be the first messengers sent to earth by the Gods to express sympathy for the short lives of mortals.
Which recipe is your favorite, or one you wish everyone would try?
I have so many favorites. I am fickle. I will say that I wish everyone would try the nasturtium goat cheese ice cream and the popcorn chive cupcakes, but one of my true favorites due to its versatility and its ability to transcend the short season of flowers, is the blackberry hibiscus chutney. It has so many uses and the flavors are spectacular.
What is your favorite flower or specific ingredient to cook with?
Embracing the "love the one you're with" philosophy of Stephen Stills, I love whatever flower I can get my hands on at the moment. I am passionate about most flowers. If I were stranded on a dessert island and had to choose one flower though, I might have to look to my top three (of the moment), calendula, nasturtium, and rose.
What are some essential things everyone should know before cooking with flowers?
Before cooking, make sure your flowers come from a safe space-that means no herbicides or pesticides or fungicides, no roadside exhaust, no poisons. Be sure what you are eating is edible, and taste the flower on its own to be sure of the flavor before you use it.
Describe the moment ate your first flower.
The first time I can remember eating a flower intentionally was a nasturtium in a salad. I remember being amazed, awed in fact at the spice that I was feeling. I had no idea that what i put in my mouth would taste spicy and I was shocked. I love savory and eating that flower I remember feeling my mind opening to possibilities and racing with ideas of how to use the flower more.
Describe the first thing you ever cooked or baked.
I have been cooking and baking since I was a small girl. I remember peeling apples by hand, having contests with my father and sister to see who could make the longest peel and then turning the apples into sauce with my mother. The smell of apples bubbling and caramelizing and cooking down is still one of my favorites. I think adding a little hibiscus to the mix might be in order now.
What cookbooks or resource books would we find most well-worn on your shelf?
Shelf? You mean shelves! I have a thing for books and cookbooks specifically. Standards going back to the classic , Alice Waters', Julia Child's , and Claudia Fleming's . As well, Dorie Greenspan's, and Heidi Swanson's are my go-to books, but I have so many dog-eared, page-stained, note-scribbled books that I can't limit it to those.
What are some of your favorite food or craft blogs to read?
, , , , , and are among my favorites.
What is the best piece of cooking advice you ever received?
"You can always add, but you can't take out." My fathers words echo in my ear when I start to cook.
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