by Alice DeLuca
A little prehistoric flower has been grown, re-created really, from 32,000 year-old seeds found in the ancient den of an artic ground squirrel. The photo of the little white flower in the New York Times [i] brought a rush of excitement and a feeling of kinship with the scientists who sought to cover those seeds with earth and add water, to cup their hands and breathe warm air over the planting, revealing the sprouts last seen by the tiny ground squirrel so long ago. I have the same feeling when reading an antique recipe that might bring back the flavors of the ancestors. Can we breathe life in to an antique delicacy and resurrect a better flavor? Why did people add rose geraniums to their jelly, infuse herring pie[ii] with grains de paradis[iii], or even stir and stir to create cornstarch pudding for that matter? Perhaps they knew a marvelous flavor-way or texture that has been lost to us, overtaken by food fads and conveniences of the present day?