RESEARCH COHORT REVEALS WILD PHENOMENON RE: BEAUTY & NICENESS

103% of Flowers are convinced niceness is downright dangerous. 

There are attributes of Beauty that can make humans short-sighted and googly in their understanding of what those attributes really are.

For Instance: 

Flowers are nice -- non?

Non mon cher. Non.

A finding by a Research Cohort - a life-science, earth, wind and fire alliance of sorts - echoes what the Witch so disdainfully reprimanded Cinderella, et. al. in Sondheim's Into the Woods:

"You're so nice. You're not good... you're not bad... you're just nice."

Yes, in the Research Cohort's poll of Flowers living everywhere from Australia to a preserve in Antarctica that exactly one little girl knows about, they learned: 

Flowers shudder if you accuse them of the felony, the condemnation, the death sentence of being nice. You may as well tie one of their leaves to that executionaire, Frost. 

In fact, 103% of Flowers are convinced niceness is downright dangerous. 

They may smell sweet, bashful, yet did you note those surreptitious undertones of decadence and mischief?

A poll suggests 63% of humans and one mole thought the bashful sweetness was their niceness.

When the Flowers heard this they laughed cotton-swab laughs, very different from a bee-tickle laugh - much scratchier. They shooed the Researchers off: "Go talk to our sister Thistle, she'll explain it all."

Recognising a starred opportunity, the very human Researchers coughed. 

"We'd rather you refer us to Rose. You know, the one in the white dress.... She has the mole and such... Can you get us the name of her press agent?"

"Rose? Oh, that's absurd - she's so thorn-less these days - gets all that work done. Thistle's a far more Star-like prickly bud. So prickly it's sticky. If she got rid of her thorns - she'd be rid of her head."

True to form, when the Researches approached Thistle, even before they took a breath to confirm the flower's name, age and if they were sentient, the Thistle said, "Ahoj there! Could you find my light-weighted friend, a green fly with the fluttery butters, and bring him here? It's been ever so long since I last saw him... I'm quite worried."

Unfortunately, any Researcher who shook his head "No," came back with dreary reports that Thistles are in fact, Mute.

The baffled Researchers who turned and looked for the green fly (what are butters?), were appreciatively welcomed by the Thistle, but told not to get too cozy - there still existed a thousand prickles to negotiate.

"Always prickles," the Thistles said, "But we weave them in with a honey-like handshake as evocative as warm days dissolved in a sunbeam. All Flowers are like this - the Cynareae tribe is just More edgily, blatantly so than the rest - but we're all the same, in our own way. Beautiful. Not nice."

"What is this phenomenon?" asked the endeared Researchers, who began feeling bound to the Thistles, stumbling over scientific protocol in their eagerness to understand their enchanting study subjects as if they were a regiment of Roses, "Can you explain it? The Physics of all of this. Beauty. Niceness. How to make a cup of Tea when the power is out... Oh wait, not that. I mean - Seems like a contradiction?"

"Contraire! Niceness drains beauty. Bleeds it right off. I start too nice, and what if I need you to find a missing fly with butters? Especially when he's the one who cheers me, deepens the deep blue of my down, makes its softness stand straight. You won't do it. I know you won't. But I've let you take away my time from smelling the air of the green valley, just to what - have you around? Comme ci, comme ça."

"[Sic], [sic], [quod]," is what the Researchers said in reply.

Indeed, study of a rapid time-elapse montage, showed an *inverse* correlation between Niceness and Beauty. Which suggests the point, Niceness can't make a flower Beautiful, but a Beautiful Flower that has historically been too nice has attracted so many aphids and grasshoppers it eventually feels wane, taken advantage of and weak.

Somehow this inverse correlation ended up in a footnote about weak tea and not in the nationally released study.

They are still investigating the vagaries of Kindness. 

Spruce Tips Tinselfruit

A less fancy cake than normal. But sometimes, when everything else is buzzing, you just want simplicity. Simple. And the ease of accomplishing one more thing without taxing your overstrained creativity.

Not that anything with me is ever void of creative complications. Otherwise, well... it wouldn't get done. I'm of William Morris mind here. 

The art... the real reason I built this cake, was because for a *month* I had a vision needling me of a spruce tip-flavoured sponge layered with rhubarb curd. Needling, because in early spring, if you go anywhere near a spruce, and you see the very ends of its branches bursting out with bright green buds new enough that they still have their little brown birthing caps on, you can pinch off a few and have in your hand what some indigenous people ate for Vitamin C. Not surprisingly then, as a nutritional warder-off of scurvy, spruce tips have this wonderful lemony, hint of pine, beautifully subtle herbal taste. I thought they would make an unusual citrus-like cake. And pair brilliantly with a rhubarb curd filling. 

On my walks in late April, I plucked spruce tips off trees, stored them in my fridge, and *finally* got around to chopping and put them in a classic Brit sponge. The sort you'd find in what might be the eponymous Victoria Sponge. I whisked together an eggless rhubarb curd with coconut oil instead of butter (this totally worked as a complementary flavour), and because I'm uber ambitious, boiled a spruce-tip-infused syrup to use as a cake wash. 

I had a few little tips, like pine cones in soft pliable bright green miniature, left over (plus what I fished out of the syrup infusion) to garnish the cake with. And after I strategically place them on top, I stepped back to contemplate my next decorating move, and said to myself, "You know what, considering everything, I think that's enough."

If I were marketing the contents inside, I guess the outside advertises it right, because the feedback has been that it tastes is superbly delicious and tres tres "elegant." That later assessment aligns quite fittingly with the appearance - non?  

Dandelion Tinselfruit

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Dandelion season is here. 

I feel it a soothing clamour. Demanding bees' attention. Demanding anyone's attention. Demanding yours. Those blaring heads bullhorning out, literally everywhere. A million little megaphones. Piercing eyes (in the best possible way - oh, to be so audacious) with a siren pitch in the roadside's bumper-to-bumper jam of greenery. Such gauche and loud flora they are. Their wishful fugliness granted across miles and miles. And then miles more.

So of course the omnipresent inspiration surfaced in my latest cake creation, and here they are, demanding your attention yet again.

(Some of those piled mounds are comprised of local bee pollen. How neat is that?)

For those interested, I used this cake recipe from Godiva. Plus an extra T of coconut oil and swirl of avocado oil for good measure. The frosting is a light cocoa cream cheese.