Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Lunch-Box Trees and French Bread Trees

When I was a little girl, I loved the Oz books written by L. Frank Baum. The actual books bear little resemblance to the Hollywood film (which I never liked at all) and have the advantage of incredibly beautiful illustrations by John R. Neill, 'The Royal Illustrator of Oz'. One of the first books I read was 'Ozma of Oz', a tale that contained detailed information about the Land of Ev, where Lunch-pail trees flourished.

The first description of these marvelous Trees is as follows:

...'Lunch' could be read, in neat raised letters. This tree seemed to bear all the year around, for there were lunch-box blossoms on some of the branches, and on others tiny little lunch-boxes that were as yet quite green, and evidently not fit to eat until they had grown bigger. The leaves of this tree were all paper napkins, and it presented a very pleasing appearance to the hungry little girl.‎'

This tree captured the imagination of a very young girl, but I have discovered that I was not the only child who found the concept of such a tree irresistable. Although I have read all of my favourite Oz books countless times, the magic of them remains fresh and vibrant.

Enter the age of computer games and FarmVille where, much to my delight, a 'French Bread Tree' was released as part of the Bastille Day celebrations. The French Bread Tree is a Level 1 Tree, which means that it is available solely in the Marketplace and as a Limited Edition, soon will be unavailable. If placed in an Orchard, however, one can obtain Mystery Seedlings from it which can be grown into 'Big French Bread Trees'.

As an immature Tree, the bread is not particularly attractive or distinctive. Although it includes diverse shapes, all are unbaked and therefore have the same dough texture. It is when it is ready for harvest that the French Bread Tree is displayed in all of its glory and I feel that L. Frank Baum would have appreciated this variation on the original.

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