Wednesday, May 5, 2010

urban garden party I

I have been hard at work on this party- it all started when I came across an invitation for the Mattress Factory's annual fundraiser several years ago-- which they call the urban garden party. For some reason that really sparked my imagination, especially after I looked at the pictures of the actual event and they weren't at all what I was hoping for. (Looks more like block party than a garden party to me...) That year they had a marie antionette theme which immediately brings to mind stacks of little cakes and hors d'oeurves to me. So I started thinking about it... May seemed like the ideal time for a spring party and in keeping with that spring theme I decided that everything I made should in some way involve edible flowers. (April showers bring May flowers) I was sort of stumped for a bit on how to incorporate the urban bit, other than that my garden is in a city, but then I decided to also incorporate foraged edible weeds and berries. So all of the flowers used I either grew or found growing in nearby vacant lots. **disclaimer- I am not an edible weed expert if at all in doubt, don't eat it. There are lots of great foraging, edible weed, recipes and info sites on the internet, but well... they are all pretty crunchy. I wanted to do something a little more polished and elegant. I combined the very frilly girly garden party aesthetic with very industrial serving pieces- chunks of wood, metal and stone. I think of garden parties as being very British, so I also used some british style desserts and repeatedly consulted a old favorite cookbook- the crabtree & evelyn cookbook. In fact the picture of the rose blossom punch from that book has had considerable influence on my idea of what garden parties are I think. I have had the book since I was a kid and been slightly obsessed with the punch ever since, although this was my first time actually making it. Everything is bite size and dainty-- which is how a garden party party ought to be-- in my head at least.

Some sites to check out if you are interested in doing some edible weed research:

Remember to avoid places where chemicals may have been sprayed and if in doubt leave it alone.

second picture: Rothchild Garden Party,1938,Margaret Bourke-White

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