Although many foodstuffs and drinks can contain the terroir of an area, from wine to beer to tea and cheese, one of the most tangible ways to taste an area is through its honey.
Lately, while I’ve been jobhunting and trying to figure out how to stay in Great Britain, I’ve also been experiencing an odd sense of homesickness. Specifically, a craving for the honey sold by the small producers in the street markets and flea markets back in Central Florida. Tupelo honey and saw palmetto honey are the ones I’m specifically thinking about, along with indigenous orange blossom honey.
I wrote a post five years ago (nearly to the day) on my food blog on local honey, specifically my regular trips to Mt Dora to buy massive jars of palmetto and tupelo honey from an old, bearded man. In my recent reminiscence over the honey, it occurred to me that Henry Parker might not be around any more. So if anyone reading this lives in Central Florida, I’d appreciate an update on the Honey Man. Thanks.
Tupelo honey is lovely, but the saw palmetto or palmetto honey was my favourite, because it had a slightly darker taste, much like caramel or toffee.
It’s strange how, in this moment of anxiety regarding my future here in London, I feel so strongly curious about how life is back in Orlando, missing odd things such as the local honey. It could be a protective emotional consolation, that if I cannot stay in London, Orlando’s not a bad place to be while I figure out where to go next or to try and move back to the Big Smoke at a later date.
Or it could be, as I am in a relationship with someone who is very nice and very special, that I’m thinking of the things I’d very much like to share with him if I could get the chance. Tupelo honey in huge mason jars, Stardust brunches, beer-tasting at Redlight Redlight, Terrapin beer, trips to flea markets, Mellow Mushroom pizza and Ethos vegan burgers all have their special places in my memory. I think when one is good friends or in a relationship with someone else, it’s very natural to want to share the things from the place, or places, you grew up in. But when these places are so far away, or additionally, so scattered, it can provoke a bit of longing for the taste of palmetto honey, among other things.
At the same time, I’m trying to explore more of London and Great Britain while I am here, which is a bit daunting when your job situation is a bit shaky for the time being. Next month I’ll be going on a weekend trip to Devon, and a Brighton trip that was cancelled due to the recent snow will be rescheduled eventually.
Perhaps I’ll be discovering a honey here I’ll be pining for on another shore.