Food: Chasing the winter blues away
I was in a rare foul mood last Wednesday.
Trudging up Brown Street for an assignment, on foot, against a persistent and numbing cold wind, I found myself grumbling about the fact that the zipper on my winter jacket is shot and my Jeep was in the shop for repairs.
To make matters worse, every few steps I would have to perform my “penguin” walk as I navigated over mini ice slicks slowly melting off the banks. This is a ridiculous gait: arms straight down, feet plodding slowly back and forth to distribute weight evenly, head cocked sideways. It’s very nerve-wracking and ridiculous to witness.
But my disgruntled attitude changed instantly when I pulled open the door to Forth Floral. The fragrance alone almost dropped me to my knees.
I took a quick glance around the floral section, but a strong and mesmerizing pull drew me back to the greenhouse. And like an evaporating cloud, my bad mood vanished.
The humidity alone made me throw my defunct jacket on a little wrought iron bench. My first sight was a beguiling fountain in a simple bowl gurgling delicately. I stared at it like a parched castaway.
And oh, the color. Bright red tulips and shocking yellow daffodils nestling together in happy harmony; tiny iris jockeying to bloom with stocky purple hyacinths and green everywhere. There was row upon row of foliage, and even some lemon trees with huge fruits hanging down. One had delicate white blossoms forming and I sucked in their fragrance with memorable gratitude. It was paradise.
Then my good friend Ruth Hempel walked up . She and her husband Henning own and operate this business. In my seven-year career at the Star Journal I have had several assignments at this wonderful establishment and Ruth and Henning are favorites.
I was actually there for a legitimate reason, though. I wanted to find out about the Lunch and Learn sessions that are held every Wednesday during the noon hour. Ruth hosts these sessions and they are free to anyone who needs a little foliage lift. And you can even bring your lunch and have the honor of eating at a picnic table among all this soothing beauty.
Wednesday’s session was about The Color of the Year, which apparently is orchid. I was fascinated to learn that there is actually an organization in charge of determining a different color every year. (Last year it was emerald.)
In all honesty, orchid is a bold and vibrant hue, and Ruth did admit a little goes a long way. Accent pillows or even drapes in a bedroom are appropriate. And according to the experts, this loud purplish tint is supposed to enhance romantic stirrings when actually featured in the boudoir.
All that aside, any flower this color is jaw-dropping beautiful and Ruth had lots of samples to show the handful of audience members. Cyclamens and roses; mums and carnations; all perfect in their showy orchid finery.
As Ruth gave her demonstration, I sat on the bench, soaking up the warm sun in my face. In the background, the bubbling fountain gurgled soothingly and the earthy, spring aroma of loamy soil and plants filled the air. All my troubles melted away.
All too soon, I had to head back to the office. But unlike my departure from there, I had a distinct and peppy spring to my step, not to mention a totally different attitude.
In keeping with my goal to eat healthier this year, and the fact the sessions at Forth Foral are held during lunch, I included a recipe this week that I found to satisfy a nagging chocolate craving. It includes dates, which I love. I made it last week and it is a perfect mid-day snack for “baggers” like me.
At this time, I would like to extend a sincere “Thank You” to the Hempels for opening the doors to their wonderful establishment for everyone to enjoy. I would suggest making a visit there, if not for the Lunch and Learn sessions, at least for the uplifting physiological boost.
And oh, by the way…does anyone know where I can get some orchid curtains made?
½ cup Medjool dates, pits removed
1 cup walnuts
3 Tbs. organic cacao powder
1 tsp. vanilla extract
¼ tsp. Celtic sea salt
Place dates, walnuts, cocoa powder, vanilla and salt in a food processor . Pulse on high speed until smooth
Remove mixture from food processor and roll into little balls. Store in the refrigerator for freshness.
To find out more about the Lunch and Learn sessions, call 715-362-7600 or check out the Forth Floral website at www.forthfloral.com.