Flowers are commonly used the world over in cooking and not just for their aesthetic beauty. Lavender, rose, chrysanthemum, dandelion, borage and marigold have been used to give aroma to sweet and savoury dishes and have also played a major role in medicine.
Borage was believed to drive away dullness and melancholia – possibly due to it commonly being mixed with wine. It was also said to bring courage – again, most likely enhanced by an alcoholic kicker – and so a single flower would be placed in the stirrup cup of those leaving for the Crusades. Fast forward to today and we are most likely to find a single borage flower on our poached eggs with ancient grains at the local cafe.
The incongruous use of single flavourless flowers aside, I am a huge fan of the power of the flower. Commitment to their flavour and gentle handling reap great reward. I guess the best way to communicate this is through the use of saffron, itself the stigma of a flower. Overheating or overuse leads to bitterness, but a light toast and restrained application bear excellent results.
Remember, though, when using flowers, as with any food, it is best to know the origin and how they have been grown. You do not want your meal to be served à la pesticides.