It was this culinary lavender that interested me as I stole beneath the rafters in the Kangs' cedar drying barn. Hedgebrook's chefs had befriended the Kangs and were making sorbet and salted cookies flecked with their blossoms, but I soon learned that English lavender has a long history in the kitchen. Native to the Mediterranean, lavender was, in all likelihood, brought to the British Isles in the second century by the Romans, who used it for washing and bathing, as well as for cooking and winemaking. A member of the mint family and a relative of thyme, it lends floral and herbal notes to dishes. Today, farmers in France send their lambs to graze among the blooms, and French grandmothers cut lavender from roadsides for their kitchens. I followed suit, adding blossoms to creme brulee, threading shrimp onto sprigs for the grill, and tossing the sweet dried herb with potatoes for roasting.