Kennst Du das Land, wo die Zitronen blühn?

Gianluca Drago

Well-Known Member
I had a potted lemon tree in my terrace, it was a beautiful plant, but at some point, after it had brought two or three lemons to maturity, it began to decay. I thought it best to release it from the cramped confines of the terracotta pot and transplant it into the yard. For a while it seemed content, but then it died. I don't know whether the cause was summer drought or winter frost.

Time passes and perhaps two years later from its roots it is reborn. But it is no longer a lemon in its new life; now it is a bitter orange plant. Evidently the rootstock on which the lemon had been grafted had survived.

Now every year at this time we make orange marmalade. In my schedule we were supposed to make it this weekend, but the weather is turning for the worst. So I post a photo from last year.

This year the poor lemon plant has produced an awful lot of oranges. Would anyone like some?

Coincidentally I had orange marmalade on some bread this morning. Haven't had marmalade in years and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was Scottish marmalade. From Dundee. Best thing to ever come out of Dundee! (@Rob MacKillop 😋)
I’d agree, Brian. That and the Beano in 2nd place. I’m in 3rd, of course…

Gianluca, lovely family shot with no posing. The knife pointing at the camera operator (yourself, I assume) looks very threatening. It seems you survived the ordeal.
I really like all of this, Gianluca. You've put it together so well: the wistful first line of Mignon's Song as a title, the personal back story and the atmospheric image. It comes together so well for me.
(Just a thought, perhaps you might consider expanding the text and submitting it to Hamish to post on 35mmc in the One Shot Story series.)
consider expanding the text

@Peter Roberts you are so kind! I'm glad you enjoyed the story and understood the origin of the title. My wife teaches German at school so even though I know very little of that language, we sometimes communicate by quoting Goethe or Brecht ("Der Krieg, der kommen wird").
The story of the lemon is beautiful also to me because it is about suffering and death, but also about rebirth and reincarnation (and underneath there is also the man in its role of a Frankenstein who wants to force nature to follow its dream of omnipotence).

I am not able to write a text for 35mmc and furthermore I have to reveal that the photograph was extensively edited in post, because I darkened it a lot to protect my wife's privacy, but with masks and other tricks I recovered the exposure of some things that I did not want to be lost: the oranges, the orange peels, and very much the knife (which as @Rob MacKillop noted is threatening the photographer/viewer).

Thanks anyway.
The photo is a bit fake, but still the lemon and orange story is true. Every year there is this ritual (and stress) of making marmalade, which in the end comes extremely well, aromatic, resinous with flavonoids and terpenes.

If you notice, in the photo, above the stove, there is a sheet of paper with the recipe printed from an article in the Guardian, but every year we change recipe and still haven't found the ideal one.

Do you English and Scottish people, who have the tradition of orange marmalade, have the perfect recipe to suggest?