First Encounter with a Fennel

Its fronds bear a strong resemblance with the hair of a month-old baby, thin, fragile hair-like needles blooming from the bulbous head. When pressed in a plastic container, fennel felt like fine, green hay, a comforting blanket for my fingers. (Come to think of it: it would be nice to sleep on a bed made out of fennel fronds.) Its smell was refreshing--a cross between spearmint and chive. The stalks snap when bent, and when chewed, had the flavor of licorice, or the subtle freshness of a Doublemint.