29 Apr 2011

A Week-End Wonderweb 30-04 (Blog)

A blog is a creative outlet, a personal space, a diary of sorts, an experiential window-dressing, to the writer's narratives, musings, confidences, passions, hobbies, views and impressions, shared publicly online; it is a condensate of inspirational graphics and images, and meaningful texts which altogether are the fruits of what we call a labour of love.

Sources (top page down):
  • Annaleenas Hem, 'Our Concrete Floor' (March 2011, Sweden)
  • Bicocacolors, 'Transparencias' (04/10/10, Spain), photos and montage by Elena Nuez
  • Serendipity, 'A Weekend in Pink' (10/04/11, Japan).

28 Apr 2011

April in Bloom

Welcome to La Baguette's latest feature: 'A Month in Bloom', which debuted in our February edition. At the end of each month, this blog will showcase a gallery of floral blossoms of the wild order encountered during that month on random walks around my current base in Northern Corsica.

King of the hill: Cistus
Botanics afficionados and fans of our monthly column alike won't be disappointed as here in Northern Corsica, April was an action-packed month on the floral front, with a plethora of colours, shapes, scents and effects fostered by the mild - even warm - weather and ambient humidity caused by seaside proximity.

In the second half of the month however, while Northern Europe enjoyed a near heatwave, Southern Europe, in a strange twist of fate, suffered a wet spell, with uninterrupted tropical-like misty showers and low heavy skies trapping down the air moisture. The month's sunny spells interspersed with rainy episodes provided the right conditions for speedy plant growth, including Grasses, Ferns and the less covetable Brambles, Bindweed and Nettles...

The florist's darling: Cyclamen
In the first half of April, the Asphodel and its tall single statement stalk stole the limelight, while the following fortnight was highlighted by the Cistus, a simple dogrose-like bloom coming into its own. Three varieties of cistus are observed in Corsica: two white blossom ones (one with downy sage-like leaves and one with long narrow sticky dark green leaves), and the pink cistus.

Beyond the remarkable asphodel and cistus, a multitude of other flowers deserve a mention, some of them instantly recognisable, like the Papaver (red poppy), others thriving in the shade of the undergrowth away from preying eyes (the Cyclamen), others gracing clearings in the maquis (the Orchis), and the intriguely-shaped yet easily identifiable Borage playing hide-and-seek with Carex grasses.

Flowers are blue: Borage'
Other familiar faces include the Ranunculus (Buttercup), the Trifolium pratense (Red Clover), and the Vicia (sometimes mistaken for Sweet-Pea). The commonly-named Daisy has made the low grasslands its playground and you can't get a more romantic floral display and symbolic representation of Spring than with a spread of daisies!

Meanwhile the invasive Oxalis, the Vinca minor (Periwinkle) and to a lesser extent the Anemone, Winter's usual suspects, are still being observed right now. These guys are pillars of the local flora community!

As you can appreciate, April was indeed fabulously floral and visually delightful. By experience and by the look of things to come, we promise you that May and June will be equally delightful! And you know what? We can't wait to show you around!

Loves me, loves me not? Daisy
Discreet underfoot: Arisarum vulgare
No less than an orchid: the (aptly-named) Orchis papilionacea
One of a kind: Silena

23 Apr 2011

A Week-End Wonderweb 23-04 (Easter)

Of all the imagery associated with Easter, the most enduring one is young, fresh, light, floral, regal and Spring-like: cute little lambs, fluffy chicks and endearing bunnies, Easter eggs and chocolate delights aplenty, ribbons, bells and bows, blossoms, bird nests, set against a palette of soft greens, muted pinks, pale yellows and enchanting creams, and all singing from the same hymn sheet to deliver sweetness and eye candy!

Sources (top page down):

22 Apr 2011

On and Off the Magic Milky Way (Part 2)

Within the wider dairy produce arena, I was also a Rachel's Organic and Yeo Valley Organic customer (two well-established UK organic dairy brands fondly remembered for their creamy yoghurts and scrumptious yet simple desserts. Obviously if I were still living in England right this moment, I wouldn't put the sentences in the past like this just isn't true anymore. If still in England I would indeed still purchase those brands as I am totally sold to their ethics, philosophy and quality produce.

Back to our UK years, if no organic milk was available from the store, I would reluctantly relent to the mass-produced non-organic standard alternative, and would (more happily) compromise with a couple of tins of Carnation milk, as the processed (evaporated) milk somewhat tastes nicer than standard milk, it tastes like caramel to me. What I would do with Carnation was cut it with a third water, before heating up in a pan for my daily breakfast muesli (Alpen, occasionally Dorset Cereals and even posher ones if I felt flush, or simply stick to Sainsbury's own continental style which was decent enough).

So yes, I consumed my muesli in a very continental way, blended with chocolate-flavoured hot milk (although this might just be my version of continental, I'm not quite sure, just that I can't stand the taste of milk on its own, and simply abhor cold milk - and yes I am daring to dedicate an article to milk while cultivating so many particularities about it!). The girl is strange.

Dairy high: Victoria Sandwich
With Carnation evaporated milk and its caramel undertones, the issue of cow welfare would be sneakily shifted to the back of my mind, to the back burner. Cow welfare? What is that strange girl on about? Oh yes, in the context of industrial farming, when you taste that mass-produced standard milk whose carton price has been squeezed even tighter by the notorious supermarket purchasing lobbies at the expense of the producer's profit margins and subsistence, and to give the end-consumer that elusive feeling that they are making a bargain while the one winner really is the retail chain, the dairy producer has no other option than turn to even cheaper feed for his cows and inflict more crammed living conditions onto them, while increasing his milk quotas, and that means demanding an even higher return on investment from the herd. Therefore expect a higher, faster, more intensive milk turnover with all the consequences that go along. Some French dairy producers push the boat even further by moving their production altogether to cheaper countries like Romania, spelling an even harsher life for the cows.

The objective is for the dairy cow to produce more milk and be milked round-the-clock to exhaustion, until both the milk and the animal's life have drained out! This gives the idiom 'milking it' its powerful significance. Cows develop a weakened immune system despite the battery of antibiotics that they are subjected to, many develop lameness. Besides their over-worked udders are susceptible to mastitis (sores, pus, blisters) that not only cause the cow terrible discomfort, but also run the added risk of discharge into the actual milk output, as Heather Mills (ex-Mrs Paul McCartney) had highlighted to the press once.

The cow's ultimate reward for that thankless life of labour is to have its already shortened life taken away while still a few years away from 'retirement', with the ultimate stress of the abattoir lottery (some slaughterhouses being less 'humane' to the animals on death row than others, shall we say...). And at the end of the line, that's our dairy cow ending up hacked, chopped, filleted and minced to pieces. From a froth of hot milk sitting nicely onto your cappuccino, all the way down the food chain to that steak fighting the French fries for space on your plate, that's all in one day's work when you are a cow!

Life as a standard non-organic mass-production dairy cow is pretty bleak, as we've just seen: the cow as a relentless milk factory on legs with basic - even miserable - life conditions, whose life ends up as a meat factory, the four legs up. This is basically and simplistically the picture, and it would be naive for the consumer to assume otherwise. I too used to kid myself until recently that 'maybe oh so maybe' dairy cows got spared the gun and simply produced milk at a leisurely pace, after their daily wander in some lush postcard-perfect clover-rich pasture, all in all enjoying a long and merry life before naturally dying of old age...

Dairy high: Pasticciu (Corsican custard speciality)
Enters the next instalment in our mass-production milk saga, relayed this time by UK charity WSPA (World Society for the Protection of Animals) via its punchily energetic and innovative Not In My Cuppa campaign fighting proposals for the planned controversial super-mega Nocton dairy farm in Lincolnshire (UK) that would have spelled further doom for the cows in the name of higher yield. The original proposal was for the mega dairy to house 8,100 battery cows, with a view to produce at least 38 million litres of industrial milk a year (19,300 pints per cow per year), enough for 2.5 billion cups of tea, according to The Soil Association. The mind boggles! Then the proposal was revised down to 3,770 cows, before the plans were withdrawn in February 2011. It's a victory and I am personally delighted! Yet Not In My Cuppa campaigners and supporters need to remain vigilant as similar proposals could spring up again in future.

Of course organically-certified dairy cows are not spared the fate of turning into meat chops. But at least - in principle, and I do weigh those words carefully - they are guaranteed more acceptable welfare conditions than their industrial-farming counterparts. Meanwhile as consumers we have the power to vote with our feet.

Leading by example: London's Kaffeine only uses organic milk
Thus for our cappuccino or cream tea, would we not be prepared to pay that little extra and demand from our favourite cafés to switch to organic milk alongside us, in order not only to safeguard our conscience but ultimately the dairy cows living conditions, and the incidence these conditions have on the quality and taste of the milk? Milk from miserable, overworked, weakened, exploited cows: no way! Milk from happier, less-crowded, better-fed, better-looked-after cows: yes please, we're in! I'll put the kettle on right away!

Further resources:
  • The Soil Association, a UK charity campaigning for environmentally-friendly farming practices
  • WSPA (World Society for the Protection of Animals), the world’s largest alliance of humane societies and animal protection organisations, representing over 1000 member societies in more than 150 countries, with consultative status at the United Nations and the Council of Europe
  • CIWF (Compassion In World Farming), the leading farm animal welfare charity.

20 Apr 2011

On and Off the Magic Milky Way (Part 1)

Here is a four-letter word that is so part of our lives that we almost forget it's there. Rest assured, that four-letter word is not offensive, it is pretty safe and friendly too, if not essential - to most of us. It is a basic food commodity, just like eggs, bread, 'tatties', pasta, rice, sugar, tea or coffee.

Sweet Paul's Strawberry Shake (Spring 2011): click image for recipe
It forms an essential part of the non-vegan diet, consumed in its simplest unadulterated form with the breakfast bowl of porridge, cornflakes or muesli. Yes, that four-letter word is milk. And once we start skimming beyond its surface, we start to discover the complexities of an otherwise easy-going life companion.

Milk is available not only in its liquid form (as whole i.e. full-fat, semi-skimmed or skimmed), or a thicker richer stickier form (as condensed or evaporated, a must for cheesecakes, banana banoffee pies, and generally to achieve creamier puddings), or in powdered form that is reconstituted by adding water. Milk is available either fresh (arguably the best, yet with a shorter shelf life and the necessity to keep it refrigerated at all times), or pasteurised/ UHT (Ultra-Heat Treated) for that guarantee of a longer shelf life (at least while the container remains unopened).

Sweetapolita's 'Inside-Out Neapolitan Layer Cake'
In certain countries like the UK, milk is still home-delivered early each morning by the milkman from the local dairy, a tradition and convenience now sadly losing its mojo, especially in towns and cities where the competition and market penetration from the supermarket chains has become fiercer than ever, and this despite the fact that milkmen have diversified their activities with the provision of other dairy products, fruit juices, eggs and even bread: breakfast ingredients par excellence delivered to your doorstep!

Milk comes in a glass or plastic bottle, in a brick, in a tin or - for those of us lucky enough to trace it back to the source, from the cow's udder. Although mind you, milk is not solely restricted to the cows. That would be disregarding other mammals, like the goat, and those which too breastfeed their youngs but whose milk is not channelled down the humain food chain for human consumption (cat milk anyone?). There are other types of milk out there which have opened up new horizons to our vegan friends: soy milk, almond milk, coconut milk, etc.

The Design Observer Group, 'A Collection of Vintage Cheese Labels'
Back to our cow's milk, it is also available processed into dairy products: butter, spreads, cheese, yoghurt, fromage frais, custard, cream (single, double, whipped, clotted), ice-creams and shakes, or used as a key-ingredient in a number of desserts, chocolate bars, sauces and savoury dishes (gratins, mashes), without forgetting our hot drink fixes in the form of cappuccinos, lattes, macchiatos, hot chocolates and café mochas which simply wouldn't be so without their milk addition... You got it, milk is everywhere and trying to avoid it altogether is no mean feat: just ask a vegan once they step out of the safety of their home in search of ingredients or an eaterie that caters for their needs...

With its high calcium content, milk is recognised as a nutritive and healthy option by nutritionists. The recommended milk intake assists children in their growth, it benefits adults too by assisting them in taking care of their teeth and bones, and is said to limit the effects of osteoporosis in later life. It is however fatty and those seeking to reduce a high cholesterol level will resort to the semi-skimmed or skimmed version, although moving to skinny lattes after years of indulgent full fat lattes might take a little while.

Source: Plan59
Nevertheless detractors claim that cow's milk is only directly beneficial to its calves as it is designed to feed them first and foremost, just like human breast milk is designed for human babies. We cannot argue on these laws of nature. However in Part 2, I will have the opportunity to touch on the ethics of dairy farming.

Oh, and one last 'detail', actually the detail that prompted me to write this article: milk may be purchased either as organic or standard (i.e. non-organic). Ten years ago sourcing organic milk across all four major UK supermarket chains (Tesco, Sainsbury's, Asda/ Walmart, Morrisons), upmarket food chains (M&S, Waitrose etc.) and down the high street grocers and delis, was no mean feat...  

Thankfully I was able to source organic British milk from my local Sainsbury's (Cheadle, Stockport) for most of the last decade (despite single brand exclusivity, with limited supplies at times, or stocks running out altogether, forcing me to switch to non-organic. The one organic milk brand that sticks to my mind throughout the last decade as a staple favourite on my shopping list was Moo (how quirky is that for a brand!). (to be continued)

16 Apr 2011

A Week-End Wonderweb 16-04 (Royal Wedding)

Love is in the air and Britannia is gladly putting its glad rags on to celebrate the impending Royal Wedding of the decade, of the millennium even; and fun-loving as we are, we certainly don't need our name down the guest list as a reason to join Prince William of Wales and Miss Kate Middleton in the celebration!

Sources (top page down):
  • John Lewis, 'The Royal Collection' official royal wedding commemorative pillbox, plate and tankard
  • Royal Mail, The Royal Wedding Souvenir Cover (limited edition)
  • Graham & Green, 'Jan Constantine' hand-embroidered Royal Wedding cushion
  • John Lewis, 'Hudson & Middleton' Royal Wedding commemorative Windsor mug, designed by Alison Gardiner (fine bone china, limited edition).

14 Apr 2011

Cuisine Photo Kitsch (Part 2)

Let's carry on our quick round-off of vintage cookery photography, this time with the 1970s and '80s, typified here by two very representative examples - in my eye. As always on La Baguette, you are most welcome to join the debate, and contribute comments, photos and links.

1970s: 'Salade Hong Kong'

Cut-out © 'Modes de Paris' magazine, no date available, but believed to be mid-1970s. Back then, assiettes de charcuterie (cold-cut arrangements) were popular as hors d'oeuvres. Here we have a hint of the exotic with bamboo shoots, Chinese noodles and soy sauce. The taste of the Orient was becoming fashionable in the '70s. Recreating/ adapting a Far-Eastern restaurant dish back home to share with friends, or to impress/ challenge family tradition by breaking away from traditional fayre, was an exciting prospect for the young hostess. In terms of photographic process, colours are noted to be primary, flat and bright.

1980s: 'Soupe à l'Ail'/ 'Civet de Lièvre aux Nouilles'

Taken from La Bonne Cuisine Française by Marie-Claude Bisson (© Solar 1982). Although we have just hit the '80s, the rustic theme still permeates, with pewter, wicker, brown glazed crockery, checkered cloths and roaring fires, yet with this book being an ode to traditional French cuisine, one will explain the other. Pictured here are 'Soupe à l'Ail'(garlic soup, in a setting reminiscent of a Renaissance painting), and a 'Civet de Lièvre aux Nouilles' (hare stew with noodles) straight out of Hell's kitchen...

A quick word about the red and white checkered cloth (as seen also in Part 1). This is one of those endearing themes typically associated with France (be it on French soil or in French restaurants abroad), to the point of having reached stereotypical iconic level like the béret and baguette. Having said that, modern-style cookery books have given up on the use of brightly-coloured table-cloths in favour of the neutrality of a white background or delicate pastel colours, way more flattering to the eye, to the whole ambience and the dish itself!

Here hotpots, stews, game, sausages, offal, stuffing and thick sauces galore: content is more about hearty country stodge than the nouvelle cuisine vibe of the later years of the decade (and generally what we are used to nowadays). Here we have substance over style, but then again this book claims to be a condensate of classicism and simple honest food, according to the foreword.

Photography-wise, lots of shine and saturated blocky colours (ketchup reds and mucky browns mostly), not helped by the subject, the studio setting and use of direct light/ flash. Not an inviting book at first sight for the amateur/ casual/ week-end cooks, but if you go beyond the photographic first impressions and the stuffy content, you should be able to dig up and adapt some of the more interesting and easier recipes, especially egg, potato, pasta and rice dishes and most of the desserts. So ignore the lack of photographic appeal, and have fun!

No doubt La Baguette will have countless opportunities to come back on vintage photography, be it culinary-oriented or not... So stay tuned, and until then promise me to revisit those long-forgotten cookbooks from your mum or your nan. They might look obsolete in every sense of the word but they can still teach us 'youngsters' one thing or two about society, fashion trends, culinary aspirations and... technological progress!

11 Apr 2011

Cuisine Photo Kitsch (Part 1)

Although this article is aimed at entertaining the reader as much as sharing with them some photographic evidence from 'back in the day', I need first of all to make a personal observation and give justice to our elder recipe chefs/ stylists. Today we take for granted the fact that image has become everything, thanks to the vast progress in digital arts and image manipulation. This strong visual element has permeated every array of industry and society, down to food publishing.

'Sweetness & Light Meringue', by Red Online (photo: Richard Jung)

This amazing progress has taken beauty as an artform to the mainstream, and we now expect or demand pictorial perfection. Hardback recipe books have become ever so picture-rich: when only one in so many recipes would have its own dedicated photo, nowadays most books have reached a 1:1 ratio. Food magazines have also come up in leaps and bounds in terms of layout, visual impact and appeal.

The harshness of bog-standard studio photography has been corrected by the wonders of the digital age and wizardry of Adobe Creative Suite, making vintage recipe visuals look incredibly dated and unappealing, compared to the sleek, fresh, intelligently-staged and detail-rich productions of - let's say - Donna Hay or David Loftus. The visual beauty of some of today's recipe books and the talent of their food stylist teams implies coffee table status, proudly taking the books from the kitchen into the living room as display features rather than shoving them in a cupboard. Photos sell the book more than the word content alone. Back in our vintage years, there was no visual option. You bought the recipe book for its content, not its appearance, and tough luck if you happened to despair at the lack/ sparsity of photography. It was a case of substance over style. We today have to respect those technological limitations.

'Ricotta Cheesecake & Moscato Figs', by Donna Hay

Now that I have clarified my point, and as a pictorial follow-up to my blogpost on 1970s and '80s recipe photography, I thought it resourceful to leaf through my mum's extended recipe magazine and book collection, spanning the best part of five decades, in order to unearth other little gems, purely for comparative purposes. Although I have only scratched the surface of her vast collection, I have included herewith a selection of photos that not only reflect on the photographic style of the times (its aims and limitations), but also depict the evolution of taste in its culinary, design, fashion, technological and sociological terms.

Meanwhile I invite you to dig up your own or your mum's old cookery publications in search of quirkiness and the dated like I have done; and in doing so, you are bound to find out some interesting and funny facts too. Now let's start our vintage photo pilgrimage with the peak of the Swinging Sixties, 1967, the Summer of Love, 'California Dreamin', Ossie Clark floaty dresses, Jackie O. shades and that incense stick burning all the way back from Kathmandu...

Town & Country (March 2011), photo: Albert Giordan - via On Bluepoolroad

1960s: 'Rougets Grillés Niçoise'/ 'Epaule d'Agneau aux Aromates'

Taken from La Cuisine à l'Electricité by Françoise Bernard (© Librairie Hachette 1967). Here we cosy up into the late '60s with a revolutionary cookbook written by a well-known French cookery figure of the times. The 150-recipe cookbook only contains a handful of photos, and although some were more flattering than this one, I decided to be awkward so I could prove my point. However what makes this book stand out is the fact that almost each double-page spread features a colour cartoon representation of the recipe it relates to, using naïve symbolic imagery in bonbon colours, in a similar psychedelic vein to The Beatles' 'Yellow Submarine' animation film.

Another revolution in this cookbook lies in the fact that its recipes are adapted to be made solely using an electric cooker. Understandably the book was produced and promoted by EDF (Electricité de France, the French state-owned electricity board) as a sleek and clever marketing tool. Colour-coded cooker/ oven settings are explained with each recipe.

In terms of photographic and culinary merit, the grilled fish recipe pictured here ('Rougets Grillés Niçoise') is likely to raise eyebrows: the fish-looking-at-me scenario, the look-more-fish scenario (anchovies plus anchovy butter medallions), the majority of browns and the impression that the dish is charred, dry and incredibly salted. Not a turn-on for the modern palate; was it ever back then, I wonder?

However, unless you are a vegetarian or a friend of the living lamb like I, the lamb shoulder recipe ('Epaule d'Agneau aux Aromates') looks less off-putting (that will be the cute cartoon!). Ingredients do not verge on the bizarre either: thyme, dry white wine, oil and a stuffing made of butter (or margarine), rosemary, oregano, basil, parsley thyme, garlic and egg. Actually the recipe sounds quite modern (timeless even), so much so that I could easily imagine one of our TV chefs whip it up as a Sunday roast. Therefore indeed, not all vintage recipes were the culinary equivalent of a Z movie gorefest! (to be continued)

8 Apr 2011

A Week-End Wonderweb 09-04 (Quirky)

Quirky is a little surprising, a little different, a little extra, with a touch of originality that brings a smile and a compliment; quirky is off the beaten track on the funny side of life... and off the wall even!

Sources (top page down):

7 Apr 2011

My Own Private Turner Prize

Last Autumn when out on a walk with Tickle, curiosity got the better of me. We stepped off the road well travelled to venture across a patch of former agricultural land that so far had been 'out of bounds' to us since it was screened off by thick brambles.

The land had been cleared with a clear purpose: to make way for a residential build. That's the way things tend to go these days in Corsica. Land formally dedicated to agriculture (mainly until just after WWII), then suffered decades of utter neglect before being reclaimed and repurposed into real estate.

Land clearance, in this instance, had opened a rare window of opportunity for our mini-adventure. So there we ventured (trespassed even!), Tickle and I, across that patch of land for a little wander, heading towards a brook. And that's how we came across that little treasure that so typifies rural Corsica: a stocky, rustic-looking stone construction. It was erected in the immediate vicinity to the brook, sadly yet predictably in a state of semi-dereliction (no roof and the floor completely caved in, no doors nor windows), but strangely not looking sorry for itself, if you would pass me the expression. It seemed that the building was in perfect communion and harmony with its surroundings, like it had always been there - and was meant to be there.

Upon closer inspection I discovered this used to be a water-powered mill, either a flour or olive oil mill, not only through the strategic location of the build, but also by its architectural clues, most notably its grinding/ pressing stone wheel, now split in half and lying amongst debris.

I fell in love with the mill straight-away and have since taken the liberty to visit it several times. If I had money to burn, I would trace back the owners (allegedly a formerly wealthy local family), make them an offer, and get a heritage architect on the case to get it restored to its former glory.

What fascinates me most is that depending upon the time of day and luminosity levels, the building becomes alive (thankfully not in a Stephen King sense!), with ever-changing shades and reflections reverberating off the stonework. This is encouraged by the rugosity of the stones and their individual colourings, some of them smooth eau-de-nil rounded pebbles that I imagine were picked off the brook. The mill is surrounded by a cluster of olive trees and oaks and you get a very astmospheric mood. At the height of winter you get an early-morning fog stretching across.

Meanwhile everytime I look at that mill, I cannot help but think of J.M.W. Turner (English romantic landscape painter and watercolourist, 1775-1851) and his fellow contemporaries who depicted timeless, nostalgic English rural scenes as an antidote to the ravages that the Industrial Revolution was inflicting to the kingdom's towns and cities. Tumbling barns and chapels, semi-derelict country houses, all set amongst a bucolic genteel countryside of trees and hills and streams, the sort of landscape where you can reconnect with yourself and lose your thoughts in, smell the woodland moss, feel a pinch in the air and stroke past a scattering of dew-saturated jonquils down the bankside.

J.M.W. Turner, Kirkstall Abbey on the River Aire (1824)
I am convinced that Turner would have loved this little Corsican mill! Almost a thousand miles away from Albion, this mill feels like my own private Turner connection, my Turner painting, Turner scenery, Turner Prize... I wish I was talented enough to even attempt at painting it, but that would be stretching my artistic capabilities. Instead Photoscape has operated its magic for me (see below), by doing all the legwork - I mean the brush strokes. The result is no Turner chef d'oeuvre, but in my mind this is the missing piece in the Turner puzzle: the scene that had Turner written all over it, the scene that he should have painted... but destiny decided otherwise.

2 Apr 2011

A Week-End Wonderweb 02-04 (White)

A symbol of peace, purity and virginity, a colour traditionally associated with weddings or funerals depending upon custom, white is also a lifestyle and design choice, or a refuge even, whenever one feels coloured out ad nauseam; stylish and timeless, white is back as the new black.

 Sources (top page down):