Sep 1, 2007

Musings: International Foods & Lavender

I went to the International Street Fair in Orange today...and I baked in the California sunshine. The temperatures soared to over 90˚. I know some of you are dealing with higher temperatures coupled with unreasonable humidity! Just remember that fish in a frying pan don't quibble over temperature, they just know they're being cooked!

Of course, redemption from the heat was found in the ethnic aromas swirling for my attention. So, armed with a spray bottle of icy water, I wandered from one country to the next. My first stop was Denmark. Here, I shared Danish aebleskiver with my daughter, Briana, and her friend Sarah. Aebleskiver are much like orb-shaped waffles, sprinkled with powdered sugar and topped with raspberry jam! It was delectable– and sharing definitely kept me in check.

Venturing off to Australia, I purchased Aussie potatoes with ranch dressing. I devoured an Irish banger in the shade of an old stone building and then ducked into an antique store to lavish myself with air conditioning. After looking through a collection of antique candy molds, I headed for Greece. There I squeezed lemon juice over fried calamari, dunking each piece into fresh cocktail sauce.

At this point, my tolerance for the heat had peaked, so I made my ritual stop at Café Lucca's. Their Italian roasted coffees, grilled Panini, and homemade soups are awesome. However, it was the artisan fresh fruit sorbetos and gelato that I had a hankering for. It was my way of placing an ice cap on my day. I left with a tall cup of orange and peach gelato for the road. I couldn't walk fast enough to my car!


Upon returning home, I pulled a lavender sachet from one of my dresser drawers and began to release it's fragrance by gently squeezing it. I will sometimes rub pure lavender essential oil onto my palms and then– bringing my hands to my face– I slowly inhale its soothing fragrance.

Lavender Tidbits:
  • The word lavender comes from the Latin lavare, which means to wash.
  • It is indigenous to and thrives in the Mediterranean.
  • It is a fragrant, edible herb. (I love McFadden Farm's Organic Herbes de Provence which includes lavender in the ingredients.)
  • Because of it's beautiful fragrance, it was used in early civilizations for washing and bathing.
  • It is used as a deodorant, an antiseptic, and as an insect repellent.
  • It is known to relieve stress and soothe aching joints.
  • The Greek writer, Dioscorides, expounded on lavender's medicinal properties.

A good source for organic lavender is Jardin du Soleil.


As of yesterday, I entered my 3rd month of blogging! Onward and upward!


  1. We were inspired by your planned trip for the day and conquered the Orange International Street fair after you departed. Apparently we were part of the majority who waited until the temperature dropped a degree or two. There were times when all four of us were being swept along the streets by many people who seemed to be rushing to get no where. The claustrophobic conditions added additional degrees to the day's temperatures.

    Happily we were caressed by the smells of all the international foods which added a pleasant note to our trek. We indulged in wolfing down the delicious barbecued corn on the cob along with a few other items that we hoped would not totally destroy our diets. We kept wishing that we could find picnic tables so that we could sit down to enjoy our meal. But they did not exist.

    All of us were glad that we attended the street fair but we all agreed that it would not become an annual event for us. However we are going to return to explore the antique shops in Orange on a non-fair day and eat at some of the enchanting restaurants and tea rooms that we discovered. Thank you for for sharing your plans with us.

  2. Hi KJ, so nice to meet you. Thank you for stopping by my blog. Congrats on 3 months of blogging. Isn't is just so much fun? Well I think I'll sit back and do some reading of blogs tonight, need to catch up.

  3. Jardin du Soleil is a great place for organic lavender --- and I was there less than two weeks ago! It's a lovely lavender farm! I'll be blogging about it soon --- so please com back to visit Gracious Hospitality again. Thank you so much for your comment.

    :) LaTeaDah

  4. Mmmm what fun! I love things like this...I surely would have been there with you KJ! I would have brought our new (finally) lower temps with me. I even felt a breeze once this weekend.

  5. Thanks for your own eloquent journaling, Mom! You made room for some treats that I didn't get to have. Then again, I have been eating corn all summer long from the street vendor. I also agree that they need to provide more space to sit down. Briana was laughing because I was offering to give free sprays to strangers. How long has she known me?

    You need to plan a day to go shopping with me. Orange is one of my escapes! I will show you my favorite spots. And, they have added a number of very good restaurants, especially at the south end of Glassell.

  6. Your descriptions of the heat & food made me feel as if I was along! I can't stand the heat & humidity, get me to AC asap. I'll take a grande gelato...any flavor.

    Whenever I pass a lavender plant the urge to touch overcomes me....ahhh the smell is wonderful.

    Congrats on your 3rd mo anniversary.

  7. I cannot pass lavender or any aromatic herb with running my fingers over the plant and then sniffing my fingers. The scent will often linger for hours...


  8. 3 months already?! wow. You are doing great and have such an interesting and fun read here!

    I love lavender too. Such a soothing and lovely fragrance that reminds me of Grandma's bedroom.

    Smiles, Karen

  9. What a neat memory, Karen! My Mom wore Jungle of Gardenia when I was younger. Today, I can't smell gardenia without thinking of her.



Thanks for stopping by!
♫ Karen