The lotus flower is one of my favorite flowers. I've always been drawn to water gardens and, although I don't have a big enough pond to grow my own lotus, I do so appreciate them. Luckily I live in fairly close proximity to the Mecca of lotus gardens — Lotusland — where I took this photo.
The lotus is a member of same family that brings us water lilies, but it is its own genus called Nelumbo. I think Nelumbo has a far nicer sound to it than lotus, which sounds too much like locust to be a pretty name. But the flowers are beautiful and the huge circular leaves are dramatic. If beauty isn't enough, the flowers are also sacred to certain religions, and the roots, seeds and leaves are edible. I've never actually cooked with lotus root. I'm not sure where I would even find fresh lotus root, but I have seen it in cans. It would be interesting to try it out in a soup or salad. Now how is it that I started off writing about a flower and somehow I have ended with cooking? The garden and the kitchen are never too far apart.