Exploding Acorns and Mutable Noodles – On Plant Love and Noble Laureate Chefs

A few days ago, I got drawn towards a shop or gallery (in some parts of London, you cannot always tell between the two) which had images of fantastically enlarged seeds and pollen displayed in its window. The images were taken from two books, ‘Pollen: The Hidden Sexuality of Flowers’ and ‘Seeds: Time Capsules of Life’. Unfortunately, the place was shut, so to this date I have not been able to get a glimpse at their insides. However, I did look some reviews up on the internet and came across an article in the Guardian about the ‘third-party sex life’ of plants featuring similar images of pollens and seeds. The Guardian story (called ‘Love is in the air’) is anthropomorphic to say the least and gives the expression ‘eco porn’ a whole new meaning. Somewhat unexpectedly, we are faced with a rather anti‑climatic ending about the ‘hardy seeds’ being witnesses of times gone by and a metaphor about murder scenes to illustrate that ‘pollen is not just beautiful, it matters’… I wonder how the actual books compare to these reviews & whether they dwell on the matter aspect a bit more…

Coinciding with the pollen/seeds encounter was a phone call from my mum telling me about an interview with a German Nobel laureate (Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard) she had watched on TV. According to my mum, there were two reasons for mentioning this to me: one was that she thought that she was an interesting lady who could talk about her subject without making her listeners feel dumb, and she also liked the fact that the lady did not just answer questions, but also asked the interviewer and the audience some questions in return. Finally, she very excitedly got to the ‘main reason’: ‘She is a biochemist, but she published a cookery book!’ Of course, I had to look this book up, not because I do not believe that scientist can’t normally cook or because they produce really weird cookery books (although they may do) e.g. around ‘mutable noodles’, but because I have been practically working on my own cookery book since I could hold a wooden spoon, and I am always interested in other peoples ‘cooking paths’. I wondered if this woman had also stood in the family’s kitchen as a child, hands on hips, determinately stating that she did not want to follow any recipes but wanted to ‘experiment’ and invent her own (strangely I did the same thing with music, which led me to making my own ‘music’, too… and my own haircuts for me and our family dog…). However, I found out, that she did not start cooking until she was a student. Never mind. For a laugh, I googled whether other Nobel Laureates had published cookery books, and found out in another Guardian article that apparently George Bernard Shaw once authored a vegetarian cookbook. While, after some ‘research’, I think it is fairer to say that somebody compiled the cookery book on the basis of what he liked to eat, rather than the literary genius himself, it is true, that he did write down some interesting things about vegetarianism. Amongst those I noticed the quote: ‘Think of the fierce energy concentrated in an acorn! You bury it in the ground and it explodes into a giant oak! Bury a sheep and nothing happens but decay.’ Here we go – back to sexually charged plant matter again…

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