Fennel Pollen (1oz)
A personal story from Botanical Bakery's owner, Sondra Wells
My hero, my mentor... my dad died. An otherwise seemingly healthy, wonderful man went to the doctor. A lot of scans, pokes and prods revealed that he had stage IV lung cancer that had already spread everywhere but his brain. They sent him home to die, giving him about six months, he lasted only five weeks.
As you can imagine I am devastated. But I am an entrepreneur today because of him and he would not want me to lose site of the business. So what does a Tea Cookie Maker do when wrought with grief? She bakes. From my sorrow, and the kind of deep love only a daughter can have for her father, has come a new Tea Cookie. I came across an herb, some would argue spice, earlier in the year. I told him about it and he was eager for me to try it out. The day after he died I was laying awake at night and got up and started baking. The Tea Cookie was perfect. He would have loved it!
If you are not familiar with Fennel Pollen, is it wonderful. From the Fennel plants that grow all over California wild crafters hand pick the tiny golden flowers. The bees have already visited them when they are picked and these delicate petals and pollen are collected and sold as a wonderful spice. The aroma and taste are extraordinary, almost unrecognizable. There is a sweetness of honey, a hint of anise, a savory and complex something... almost like a curry.
I admit to never paying attention to these plants before. Now I see them everywhere, especially on my drive from my house to where my parents live... now just my mom. I think of the fennel plant that is so deeply rooted and strongly anchored and think if I had to choose an herb to describe my father it would be fennel. Strong, tall, organic in the purest sense of the word. Unassuming, it weathers any storm and just when you think you know the depths of it, these tiny delicate golden flowers bloom in July (the month my father was born) and leave a lasting legacy of fennel pollen. In the language of plants and flowers, fennel means worthy of all praise. My father was indeed that. So now when I make that drive and see all of the fennel that I never saw before, I've convinced myself that my father is all around me.