A crown or wreath of laurel leaves is synonymous with a victorious one, either in games or sports or war. Apollo was often depicted wearing a crown of laurel leaves and my recent posts of our trip to Delphi brought us to the heart of the Pythian Games (at the elevated stadium where buck naked athletes strutted their stuff) and the ultimate link to the laurel wreath. The root word laurel has since made its way into terms like Baccalaureate and hence achievement in academics is also often recognized with these flavorful leaves that perk up our own humble pork adobo. So where is this all leading? A bizarre occurrence of chance and timing, and this as the resulting post… You just never know what the next post is going to be about on Marketmanila.com, and neither do I… Perhaps the biggest chance of The Kid receiving a true laurel wreath for an Olympian effort could have come from an equestrian event. But a freak accident a few years ago saw her flying off her mount and breaking a collar bone, dampening her enthusiasm for the sport. She is also an avid tennis player, but like me, dabbles rather than aspiring to be the next Wimbledon champion.
There are many kinds of laurel plants around the world, but they are still relatively similar, and are mostly used to flavor stews and other slow-cooked dishes. I have one plant here in the heart of Manila, though getting it to grow and thrive wasn’t too easy. I have always dreamed of having several prolific bushes but that hasn’t happened yet. So imagine my surprise the other day when the doorbell rang and a friend sent this incredible bounty of fresh laurel leaves! It came with a wonderful note, a gift in response to some fresh millet (kabog) I had sent over the day before, and she noted that the laurel leaves were from a farm in Australia… Now, tell me, WHAT are the chances that I would type a post about Apollo and Delphi, then receive a whole bunch of fresh laurel leaves the following day??? I was floored by the coincidence. And while stressing out over how to make use of the bounty, I decided there were enough leaves to craft an honest to goodness laurel wreath!
What was amazing about these laurel leaves was how bushy the branches were, and it seems that the leaves are actually thinner than the variety I grow in the yard, which are stiffer and thicker. I decided I needed to dry whatever leaves I couldn’t use up immediately and made this simple wreath which I lay rather ceremoniously on The Kid’s bust/head, which depicts her at the tender age of 4. It was really easy to make the wreath as the branches naturally curved and this is a classic style in the form of a horseshoe rather than a continuous circular arrangement of laurel leaves…
As the leaves dry, I can pluck them off The Kid’s head and throw them into whatever dish needs more flavor! :) As for M, thank you so much for sharing the laurel leaf bounty with us! The Kid was amused when she returned from school to find a laurel wreath on “her head,” but in our eyes, she has always put in an Olympian effort in anything she does, so the wreath is well placed. Just a bit of a bad hair day effect, don’t you think???