Tuesday

Why Herbs are Cool Again



I ran into an old work friend at my local garden center yesterday. She was interested in planting a few herbs in her garden this season. She isn't a great herb enthusiast or a lover of the cozy cottage garden look in outdoor landscaping. She isn't a dedicated cook, either.

She shared some interesting information about herself I didn't know before: She cooks almost exclusively on weekends and considers it a chore. She does love her kids to distraction, though, and thinks that using fresh herbs will make her traditional dishes a little more appealing to their modern sensibilities.

 Her kids are teenagers or older, and part of their upbringing included years of channel surfing the cooking shows on the way to more interesting programming. You know -- those shows that make cooking look so organic and easy the average nine year old could become a cordon bleu chef during summer vacation.

These days, her kids tend to frown on meatloaf but think mini-meatballs made with lamb, seasoned with rosemary and served on a bed of kale are pretty cool. They think pork chops the way grandma used to fry them up in a cast iron skillet are passée, but can really get into 50 garlic clove chicken deglazed with Marsala wine.

It's a new world in the kitchen as well as out, and my friend wants to update her recipes a bit without having to spend exorbitant prices for fresh herbs from the produce department of her local market. (And aren't they hideously expensive!) I started thinking about herbs as innovative and trendy rather than the basic culinary flavor building blocks they actually are. A rosemary shrub might be pretty and refreshingly maintenance free by your backdoor, but it could also be a subtle symbol that you've earned your stripes in the kitchen. Forget the fact that rosemary landscaping groundcover is the plant du jour at your nearest mini-mall or business park and see it as the poodle skirt (or fondue pot) of the modern age -- an accessory that identifies you as one of the cool kids -- or cool grownups.

Here's the kicker that I really thought you'd appreciate: Grandma -- or her mom -- probably grew rosemary, (and oregano and sage and garlic and thyme) in her garden. She grew and harvested those herbs just the way she harvested water in a rain barrel and dug up potatoes (and picked apples) for the root cellar every fall. Everything old is new again -- in the most amazing ways.

 So, start an herb garden this year. You can use herbs to beautify your landscape, enhance your culinary prowess (and save money doing it), dabble in homemade remedies for minor ailments, provide raw materials for your crafting projects -- and prove to your kids (or neighbors, or co-workers or in-laws) that you are pretty cool after all.

If you're just getting your feet wet (or your hands dirty) with herbs, these posts will get you started:

8 comments:

  1. "and prove to your kids (or neighbours, or co-workers or in-laws) that you are pretty cool after all".

    Why? How sad to find on what is otherwise an interesting, informative website, such empty, superficial values being promoted. Needless to say, they are not my values. I will be unsubscribing as of now. There are plenty more gardening blogs who know the real value of life and it's not impressing others by 'being cool.'

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  2. Oh, my! Miss Costello, I'm so sorry you've taken offense at a post that was designed to be lighthearted. Goodbye and good luck.

    Sara

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  3. Sara, I totally enjoyed the scenario envisioned, I for one know so many that want to bring the family in to the kitchen and eat some wonderful, traditional meals that grandma used to make, as you said "old is new again" I for one am glad at it being so... As for the comment that Miss Costello made, I am so sorry she is that sensitive to such a light hearted statement... I have been a long time subscriber and I enjoy every one of your posts...Keep up all the light heartedness you can, I am sure most of us enjoy it.. Well mainly me anyways! LOL

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  4. Thanks, Virginia.

    I really appreciate that. I spent the afternoon wondering where I went wrong. Have a great evening.

    Sara

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  5. Thanks PyjamaGardener - great blog title BTW. Your little piece of cyberspace looks very nice too.

    Sara

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  6. I just came across your website and I'm completely in love with it!!! I really enjoyed this post, very entertaining! I am also surprised by Miss Costello's comment. Please don't change one bit :)

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  7. Thanks for the support Miranda.

    Sara

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