my husband (@sjrhoffman) is a food writer. he was recently consulted about the southern French ritual of drinking pastis, the anise flavored drink that is ubiquitous in hot mediterranean cultures. his reply to the editor got me thinking about wild fennel (which is a big part of how most pastis is flavored) and how it grows wild on almost every summer roadside in the midi, and how it used to whip at my elbow if i rested my arm on the open car window sill. for me, more than tomatoes, more than anchovies, more than garlic, more even than lavender, wild fennel is the beating heart of southern france.
wild fennel with land snails