Odessa dacha bouquets. Maria Kalenska food blog, Odessa.

Odessan dacha’s bouquets

These flower bouquets from grandmother’s dacha are in buckets, unadorned, in the raw. They smell like barefoot childhood, and nail extensions from calendula petals, and dry dust, and steppe, and tap water. They smell like icy water of life, and swelter, and skinned knees, and knee socks that sag all the time, and like flowers from the wreaths, and like a hot asphalt. They smell like when you are in line to buy a can of kvass. You know, an enameled metal can, with depicted flowers like the ones in the bouquets… and with a chipped lip. It is good that mom didn’t see the chip, or is she just pretending?
They smell like a laughter, a carefree kind, the one without any reason. You look at your friend and nicker, and she can’t hold back and bursts too. Who remembers or even needs a reason? And you won’t stop until the adults scolding: “Hush girls, Borechka is sleeping!” They smell like a siesta, when only tourists, children and crazies are roaming the streets; like a sweet, lingering summer dream…
They smell like bees, like a duality of a fright and deliciousness. One can’t think about bees unequivocally: they sting painfully but give delectable honey. And a child’s mind always wonders whether the bees are good or bad?
The bouquet smells like daddy’s wine that he concocted from concord grapes, Isabella and Lydia. Judging by the neighbors – tasters’ songs and guffaws, there is quite a fulminating mixture in dad’s barrels.

They smell like Odessan dacha’s garden. You lay down on the ground and you find yourself in another world, feeling like a God. You decide who goes where and who carries what, who lives and who doesn’t. It’s easy to be a God. A God of ants, firebugs and caterpillars. Until one of them bites you, of course.
The bouquets smell like a grandmother’s howl from the balcony: “Maaaaashaaaa, fooood!”. She screams at the top of her lungs. She won’t stop. So, wherever you are, you must go. Because Odessa grandmother sincerely believes that nature created children to eat well.

Maria Kalenska with bouquet. Maria Kalenska food blog, Odessa.