Lavender has been traced back to ancient times, and while it was known by many names (including the Biblical "Spikenard") it was the Romans, who used the flower to scent their baths, who first called it "Lavender" from the Roman (Italian) word lavare, which means, "to wash". Used in jellies and other foods, as a perfume, aphrodisiac (Cleopatra is said to have used its scent in seducing both Caesar and Mark Anthony) and insect repellent, it is a plant that traveled with the most civilized societies, from the Egyptians, to the Romans to the French and English, eventually finding it's way to the new world. Today most commonly associated with southern France (i.e. Herbes de Provence) and English country gardens, its sweet fragrance evokes a sunny summer day in a simpler time. When cooking with lavender it's important to use only organically grown herbs, or those purchased specifically for cooking, from a reputable market or health food store. Kelly Epstein writes for the food blog, www.mountainmamacooks.com. Click the link below to find her fabulous Lemon and Lavender Shortbread recipe: Lavender Marmalades and Jams.