This morning I was unexpectedly transported to the French Riviera where I found myself eating candied mimosa blossoms of exquisite fragility.
This is what can happen when you start your day with a particularly absorbing book.
The funny thing is, if you google ‘mimosa’, the first array of images that come up are of the cocktail that features champagne and orange juice. Lovely for mornings but not a tree with blossoms. And I’m quite certain that if you google ‘morning mimosa’ Google would skip the tree reference entirely. (it is a lovely tree…) And if you google ‘candied mimosa’ you just get hungry for that promised delicate, ethereal crunch.
Reading by the light of early morning sun is a delight. First, you need an old book with fascinating, esoteric subject matter. Flower Cookery by Mary MacNichol, (1967) is one of my treasures. If you need a recipe for pralined mimosa blossoms that hails from deep antiquity and the French Riviera, there it is, sandwiched in between Mignonette and Motherwort.
It even comes with a poem.
“Les Mimosas” the flower-girls cry as they offer us branches
along the curve of their sea a-bloom in the sunlight;
Like dust, like foam are the blooms, but many and golden
On branch that I hold in my hand…” [Flower Pieces by Padraic Colum, 1938]
Since I am still immersed in Beverley Nichols—now that I have a garden again, and see my last post—I was reminded of how he loved mimosa blossoms.
‘The finest mimosa I ever saw…was so covered with blossom that it looked like an immense gold powder puff. One could stand under it, and gently shake the branches, so that the delicate dust drifted on to one’s head, and one enjoyed all the sensations of a blonde–whatever they may be.’ —Down The Garden Path
Reading by morning sunlight is enhanced if the book is old, with thick paper. The texture shows up beautifully in morning light, unlike some of us who, as we age, tend to avoid being seen before noon. The binding might creak a little as it turns and gives, expanding under the warmth of eastern sunlight, but so does your easy chair. And perhaps your joints.
This, incidentally, is where an electronic device will let you down. Morning is not the time for harsh glare or flickering letters that seem to be forming themselves (ahem, page ‘refreshing’) anew each moment. No, for this exercise one must have textured pages of real paper, all showing their age very well in bright sunlight.
I would like to try this recipe for mimosa blossoms. I would like to stand under a tree and let the golden powdery bloom turn me into a blonde for a moment while I munch on my sweet candied puffs. But first, I need to plant my mimosa tree. And wait for it to bloom.
“If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch,
you must first invent the universe.”
I start my day with reading, for I never know where it will take me.