Flowers for the Home

Flowers for the Home *****

Inspirations from the World Over by Prudence Designs
Written by Grayson Handy and Tracey Zabar, Photographed by Ellen Silverman

I’m joining Jain with my Edible Book Review at Food for Thought, where pages from your book magically mix with the kitchen and your camera.

 “Flowers for the Home presents over 100 simple and stylish floral arrangements for both everyday and special occasions that have been shaped by Handy’s worldwide travels. Showcased are floral designs inspired by cultures and traditions from such far-flung places as China, the tropical rain forest, the English countryside, and the American South. Handy discusses the basic design principles we can learn from in each locale, from color palettes to indigenous materials, and provides step-by-step instructions and tips for assembling many of these joyful displays.”


Grayson Handy is the creative director of New York’s Prudence Designs and Events. Handy and Arturo Quintero’s renowned flower shop, specializes in event planning, and caters to magazines and celebrity clients. Prudence Designs is named after the owners’ beloved dachsund.

From the foreword by Paulette Cole:

  “Flowers are our miraculous tools from the heavens, entities of light and magic the we can feel and touch in this dimension. Flowers channel the essence of the fairy realm into our world, offering themselves as the ultimate design in creation, grace, and fancy.”

 This beautiful book is divided into nine locales of floral inspiration:  China, England, France, India,  Japan, Mexico, Morocco, the tropical Rain Forest, and from his childhood home, the American South. Within each section are colors, inspiration for decorating from the region and food recommendations for entertaining, so I thought this would be a great book to share for Food for Thought!

I’m travelling to England, China, Morocco, and sort of cheating by visiting the American South :-) with this edible review, but the other countries are definitely worth your visit! The photography in this book is spectacular with each photo and chapter more lavish than the previous one~ you’ll be hard pressed to choose your favorite!  This book would make a beautiful gift or great coffee table book for a flower lover, gardener or quintessential hostess.

The  inspirations for England are London with all the trappings~ black cabs & red double-decker buses, Westminster Abbey & Buckingham Palace. Victorian storefronts and the English countryside with thatched roofs and crumbling estates.

I decided to go the tea sandwich route for England as opposed to Welsh rarebit, Yorkshire pudding and steak-and kidney pie :-)

I found this great little cucumber tea sandwich, with a twist, from a fun blog, The Hungry Housewife.


Philly Strawberry Tea Sandwiches with a Twist, recipe courtesy The Hungry Housewife


  The color palette of Morocco is distinctive ranging from saffron, pink & crimson to contrast with the dry, sandy desert. Cobalt Blue is the color most commonly associated with Morocco inspired by the Mediterranean coastline and deep-blue sky. Metallic accents, plums, aubergines, reds, as well as the colors of spices – burnt sienna, terra-cotta, and chocolate all embody this culture.


 A Moroccan cocktail, an “Omar Sharif”, recipe courtesy Coastal Living

other Moroccan recipes can be found here.

I served my Omar Sharif in a martini glass instead of over ice~ the sprinkling a cinnamon is an interesting twist.





Grilled Lemon Pound Cake with Peaches and Cream, recipe courtesy Food & Wine




Almond-Vanilla Iced Tea

(this recipe serves 4)

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice*
1/2 cup sugar*
1 quart strong tea (any black or green variety)

*You can substitute 1~16 oz bottle of crystal light lemonade for the sugar & lemon to save some calories. To my taste buds, it is a little more thirst-quenching without the sugar~ I know, I know… Sweet Tea without sugar is sacrilege :-)




An old Chinese proverb says:

 “When you have only two pennies left in the world, buy a loaf of bread with one and a lily with the other.”

The love of flowers is evident in China~ among the favorites are orchids, chrysanthemums, lotus, azaleas, and cherry blossoms. Additional inspiration is found in butterflies & dragonflies, exotic birds, carp for abundance and the imperial dragon for rain & a plentiful harvest. The most predominant color is red, although golden-yellow, pastel pink, purple, jade green and black also figure prominently.



Hot and Sour Chicken Soup recipe here.

  Visit Designs by Gollum for Foodie Friday Favorites &  Food for Thought to see what everyone is reading and eating.








  6 comments for “Flowers for the Home

  1. June 19, 2010 at 9:55 am

    Oh my! I am sitting here longing for England after looking at your wonderful tea sandwiches…

    Your photographs are truly stunning, thank you so much.

  2. June 19, 2010 at 10:11 am

    OMG— this is WONDERFUL!!!! Just wonderful! Your food and flowers are just stunning. makes me want to lick the screen… wonder when computers will have a “taste” component? :)

  3. June 19, 2010 at 10:37 am

    oh i am so getting this book… once again your creative endeavors knock me over with a feather… ((((((((KERPLUNK))))))) i fall heavy and hard… ok let me dust myself off and get back to your review!

    those english tea sandwiches are beyond cute, i know i will making those soon. your flower arrangements just make them pop! each pic is so lush i am swooning. plus, i am feeling very guilty about my crummy book review this week, i knew i was skimpy on details since i was rushed this week, after seeing this i am ready to delete mine and try again… i know how much fun it is do things right, i look at your work and know the complete satisfaction you get playing with food, flowers, books and your camera. its a fun place to play, and even more enjoyable for us to see your craft~

    what a fun cocktail, cinnamon, i am in! such wonderful colors again…

    i was literally gasping out loud with joy at your sunflower petals, then i got real serious when i saw grilled poundcake! a first for me, omg its fabulous looking! you are an artist…

    and we have one more country to enjoy! you are visual overload for me…honest, you are so good at this i need to catch my breath and move on again. i am so shallow to love pretty things, i just can’t help myself…

    love the lily proverb. hot and sour is a fav of mine, i miss it, my husband doesn’t like it so i never make it…

    well that was another delightful saturday at your house… i always feel so happy and restored when i see your posts. your pics truly take my breath away, i so get your style, you just DAZZLE ME! that books is gorgeous and your interruptions are 5 stars, thank heavens you share the good stuff, thank you!

  4. June 19, 2010 at 7:30 pm

    What a wonderful book! I can’t wait to get a copy for myself. I’ve been eating grilled pound cake all my life. My grandmother always seemed to have a homemade pound cake on hand. As little girls, when my sister and I would spend the night at her house, that was our favorite breakfast treat. In fact, it still is! A fabulous post, as always.

  5. June 22, 2010 at 2:53 pm

    THANK YOU THANK YOU for covering my book. I am glad it inspired you. Your shots are lovely!
    Very Best-

  6. July 2, 2010 at 4:38 am

    Love photos are great! Such beautiful colors! And that cake looks delicious!

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