In the past month or so, I’ve started to crave the freshness of citrus. This is unusual. I’m not an orange juice drinker because it’s too acidic and I try to avoid citrus in winter because it is so cooling. Yet at the end of October, I bought a small jar of Italian bitter orange marmelade. What a revelation – tart and sweet, it helped wake me up and gave me a shot of energy the mornings I spread it on Dutch baby pancakes.
The bitter orange tree (Citrus aurantium) is an evergreen that grows throughout the countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea. Orange flower water has found its way into the cuisines of this region, notably in baked sweets such as navettes or pompe à l’huile in Provence. Neroli oil extracted from its blossoms can be used to soothe the nervous system and improve digestion. Orange blossom tea is known for its relaxing, sedative properties and also has a reputation as an aphrodisiac.
Looking out the window at the grey, I wondered what my strategy should be to face yet another day of rain, fog, and damp. I’m not depressed, I don’t have the blues. Instead, I have the oranges. I hereby declare this expression to mean to actively seek out all shades of orange to keep one’s spirits up and receive energy in the face of uninspiring weather. Yes, I yearn for a splash of color at a time when everything appears to be cloaked in various shades of concrete.
To start, I prepared myself a cup of orange blossom tea in a bright mug. A quick scan of the living room brought this skein of yarn – one of three – to my attention. Hand dyed with sorghum, this Portuguese wool is waiting patiently to become an object of delight to someone yet to be determined (perhaps even myself). Any thoughts on what it should become? Instead of reading its fortune from tea leaves, what do you see in the future of this ball of wool?
“Orange is the happiest color.” – Frank Sinatra