Last Friday, I was enjoying a nice leisurely late lunch with my family at my current favorite restaurant, Haven Gastropub, where we were celebrating a couple of family birthdays. It was down to dessert and I had ordered the thing I'd waited all day for, the tarte tatin with bleu cheese ice cream.
Oh my gosh ... was it delish! Bleu cheese ice cream may sound a little strange, but trust me, pair a bite of the ice cream with a bite of that apple tart, and ... gastronomy heaven!
You may remember me talking here on the blog about Stinky, last year. If not just click on that link & it'll take you to the post where I discussed the Huntington Library and the corpse flower. It's a rare flower you see, they don't bloom all that often but when they do, they make the news because a)they are rare and b) they stink.
So last year the Huntington library had one of these flowers blooming and about to open all the way up & throw out that famous stink. I went multiple times to see the flower, hoping to find out just how bad that thing smelled. The problem with that though, was that the smell is the flower's way of attracting flies to pollinate it. Once the flower is pollinated, it stops stinking and closes up. It's a done deal. After all that flower-watching, I missed the 2009 stink by literally hours.
You may be wondering right about now, just what the heck does a smelly flower have to do with that delicious dessert I was enjoying back at Haven Gastropub.
Amazingly, another corpse flower popped up again this year at the Huntington and I was determined this time, to find out what that flower smelled like. So I was sitting there enjoying that fabulous dessert and almost simultaneously I got both a text message from the Huntington Library and an email from a reader of my Pressing Matters column.
It was a 'Stink Alert'!
Stinky was opening up & started to smell, and the Huntington would remain open for members until 7:30 to come and get a whiff. My daughter and I looked at each other and silently communicated, "It's 5 PM, let's get out of here and get up to the Huntington fast so we don't miss Stinky this time!"
The Little Dude & his daddy at the family birthday celebration
Luckily, everyone was finished with their meal & things were winding down so we didn't have to be rude and say, "Hey this party's been swell and all but get out of our way, we gotta go smell a corpse flower!" Nope, no rudeness, the birthday celebration broke up on its own, my daughter loaded the Little Dude into the car and we were off to smell that stink!
LA area traffic. How I love it. Not! Whenever you need to really get somewhere & time is of the essence, traffic always thwarts your efforts. It normally takes only 30 to 45 minutes to get to the Huntington from where I live but on a Friday night ... well, we were sweating it out there at the end. With the car parked, we made a mad dash from the Huntington's entrance to the conservatory where the flower was growing.
The minute you opened the doors and entered the conservatory, you could smell it.
It was steamy & hot inside the conservatory, which probably served to amplify the stink, but you know what? It didn't smell nearly as bad as I had imagined it would.
The Huntington folks were loudly announcing, "Five minutes ... we close in five minutes!" as we ran to the railing and peered over, looking down into the plant bed. And there it was! Stinky! Stinking!
This year's flower was a small one, a little under 4-feet tall. But the stink was powerful, exuding throughout the entire (very large) conservatory.
It didn't smell like a corpse (yes, sadly, I know what a corpse smells like) though. It smelled more like a way-over-due-for-cleaning cat litter box or the bathroom just used by a bunch of burrito-eating-boys (if you get my drift). I expected to be completely repulsed, gagging, with the need to run from the building. That didn't happen. It wasn't roses to be sure, but I found it all fascinating.
That 'ruff' at the base of the flower is a gorgeous maroon-velvety thing on the inside and lime-ish green on the outside, and it's very pretty.
That's the whole story and finally, I can say I know what the stink is all about .. the quest to experience the scent of a corpse flower is at an end!
The Quest To Experience The Stink
About the AuthorFor 20 years, I was an antique dealer with an art background. Then I left that world and went back to art. So I guess you could say that now ... I'm an artist with a background in antiques. However you describe me, I like to create in many different mediums and I still get a thrill from anything with old peeling paint and the sparkle when light hits the old glass of chandelier crystals or the glint from a vintage rhinestone tiara, faded with time. Add in a dash of Paris for the Francophile in me and a little bit of Disneyland, for good measure (that place makes me happy), and there you have it ... me! Find out more at: http://cottagewayoflife.blogspot.com/