A few years ago, I developed a small (literary) obsession with geraniums. These flowers, which are actually pelargoniums, are everywhere in Canadian literature. From the nineteenth century to the present, this domesticated exotic has proven itself extremely versatile in the imaginations of our writers.
During my initial research, I located a number of references to the geranium’s culinary uses, but at the time, I had to set these aside. Now, in the spirit of summertime fare, I can’t resist exploring my geranium inventory a little further.
Enthusiasts of author L.M. Montgomery will recall that Marilla Cuthbert has an apple-scented geranium growing in her kitchen window. During her first morning at Green Gables, Anne names this plant “Bonny.” It’s a sentimental gesture, a sign of this orphan’s desire for a loving home (Boyd 83-84). In their documentation of this scene, the editors of The Annotated Anne of Green Gables state that as a kitchen herb, the geranium’s leaves “were used sometimes in flavourings” (81). Although we never see Marilla cooking with geraniums, a quick internet search produces numerous recipes: geranium flavoured cakes, sauces, and teas.