Taste the Rainbow

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Back-story to a most unusual and exceedingly lovely birthday present: The day of our birthday, mom and I were in the car throttling back to Beijing from the organic farm (where we cradled little cabbage patch kids and ripped baby pak choy from their earthen nursery, as per photos below). What better way to distract from the burning, internal damnation of needing to pee on a long-distance car journey during rush hour traffic... than to tap those apps on the iPhone. After my now-50-year-old mom taught me how to Candy Crush we played around with the Hermès Silk Knots app, a spoilt brat's guide to D.I.Y.-tying your silk scarves in artistic and adorable ways.

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The next day I saw her super-special birthday gift to me: a gorgeous silk scarf, its luxurious heft on my hands befitting the bounty of VEGETABLES and FRUIT GALORE silk-screened on this magical 2-D kingdom. And it was an Hermès.

Did I feel slightly Marie Antoinette, a princess playing the milkmaid ("after picking organic vegetables all day yesterday, I've only one regret.... not having that Hermès scarf draped around the collar of my denim farm-fashion shirt!")? Oh yes, very. But my sincere love of vegetables is reflected in this scarf, called "Le Potager Extraordinaire."

 The framed infographic fruit & veg print at NAPA, Beijing.

The framed infographic fruit & veg print at NAPA, Beijing.

It reminds me of a framed print at NAPA, our friends' new California-style restaurant that's focused on sourcing and serving organic, seasonal and local produce, paired well and treated (and eated) with love. I'd frame this scarf if I were to have a café or restaurant one day. In the mean time... I'll wear it around me, around my neck and over my heart.

Except on dusty hutong walks.

Or at a restaurant (food stains!).

Maybe leave out supermarket shopping.

And might as well ban places where indoor smoking happens; and also, just about everything.

This scarf's bounty and colour gave me some bounce to carry another challenging week forward, what with deliberating on the menu and packaging design. So I made several breakfast toasts/tartines/smørrebrod. With bread as canvas, the spread as background and the fruit, vegetables and nuts as the coloured subject, I put away the stress and began creating my landscapes.

If you're throwing a party, smørrebrod is the way to go; your guests can mix and match their own pretty toppings. It's creative, fun, colourful... and delicious. An adult equivalent of a kids' finger-painting party!