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(archangelica Officinalis Hoffm)
And There Is Pansies That's For Thoughts
Bluebell (wild Hyacinth)
Anemone (wood)
House Leek (crassulaceoe)

Least Viewed Herbs

(archangelica Officinalis Hoffm)
And There Is Pansies That's For Thoughts
Bluebell (wild Hyacinth)
Anemone (wood)
House Leek (crassulaceoe)

Culinary Herbs

In these days of jaded appetites, condiments and canned goods, how
fondly we turn from the dreary monotony of the "dainty" menu to the
memory of the satisfying dishes of our mothers! What made us, like
Oliver Twist, ask for more? Were those flavors real, or was it
association and natural, youthful hunger that enticed us? Can we ever
forget them; or, what is more practical, can we again realize them? We
may find the secret and the answer in mother's garden. Let's peep in.

The garden, as in memory we view it, is not remarkable except for its
neatness and perhaps the mixing of flowers, fruits and vegetables as we
never see them jumbled on the table. Strawberries and onions, carrots
and currants, potatoes and poppies, apples and sweet corn and many other
as strange comrades, all grow together in mother's garden in the utmost

All these are familiar friends; but what are those plants near the
kitchen? They are "mother's sweet herbs." We have never seen them on the
table. They never played leading roles such as those of the cabbage and
the potato. They are merely members of "the cast" which performed the
small but important parts in the production of the pleasing tout
ensemble--soup, stew, sauce, or salad--the remembrance of which, like
that of a well-staged and well-acted drama, lingers in the memory long
after the actors are forgotten.

Probably no culinary plants have during the last 50 years been so
neglected. Especially during the "ready-to-serve" food campaign of the
closed quarter century did they suffer most. But they are again coming
into their own. Few plants are so easily cultivated and prepared for
use. With the exception of the onion, none may be so effectively
employed and none may so completely transform the "left-over" as to
tempt an otherwise balky appetite to indulge in a second serving without
being urged to perform the homely duty of "eating it to save it."
Indeed, sweet herbs are, or should be the boon of the housewife, since
they make for both pleasure and economy. The soup may be made of the
most wholesome, nutritious and even costly materials; the fish may be
boiled or baked to perfection; the joint or the roast and the salad may
be otherwise faultless, but if they lack flavor they will surely fail
in their mission, and none of the neighbors will plot to steal the cook,
as they otherwise might did she merit the reputation that she otherwise
might, by using culinary herbs.

This doleful condition may be prevented and the cook enjoy an enviable
esteem by the judicious use of herbs, singly or in combination. It is
greatly to be regretted that the uses of these humble plants, which seem
to fall lower than the dignity of the title "vegetable," should be so
little understood by intelligent American housewives.

In the flavoring of prepared dishes we Americans--people, as the French
say, "of one sauce"--might well learn a lesson from the example of the
English matron who usually considers her kitchen incomplete without a
dozen or more sweet herbs, either powdered, or in decoction, or
preserved in both ways. A glance into a French or a German culinary
department would probably show more than a score; but a careful search
in an American kitchen would rarely reveal as many as half a dozen, and
in the great majority probably only parsley and sage would be brought to
light. Yet these humble plants possess the power of rendering even
unpalatable and insipid dishes piquant and appetizing, and this, too, at
a surprisingly low cost. Indeed, most of them may be grown in an
out-of-the-way corner of the garden, or if no garden be available, in a
box of soil upon a sunny windowsill--a method adopted by many foreigners
living in tenement houses in New York and Jersey City. Certainly they
may be made to add to the pleasure of living and, as Solomon declares,
"better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled ox with

It is to be regretted that the moving picture show and the soda water
fountain have such an influence in breaking up old-fashioned family
evenings at home when everyone gathered around the evening lamp to enjoy
homemade dainties. In those good old days the young man was expected to
become acquainted with the young woman in the home. The girl took pride
in serving solid and liquid culinary goodies of her own construction.
Her mother, her all-sufficient guide, mapped out the sure, safe, and
orthodox highway to a man's heart and saw to it that she learned how to
play her cards with skill and precision. Those were the days when a
larger proportion "lived happy ever after" than in modern times, when
recreation and refreshment are sought more frequently outside than
inside the walls of home.

But it is not too late to learn the good old ways over again and enjoy
the good old culinary dainties. Whoever relishes the summer cups that
cheer but do not inebriate may add considerably to his enjoyment by
using some of the sweet herbs. Spearmint adds to lemonade the pleasing
pungency it as readily imparts to a less harmful but more notorious
beverage. The blue or pink flowers of borage have long been famous for
the same purpose, though they are perhaps oftener added to a mixture of
honey and water, to grape juice, raspberry vinegar or strawberry acid.
All that is needed is an awakened desire to re-establish home comforts
and customs, then a little later experimentation will soon fix the herb

The list of home confections may be very pleasingly extended by candying
the aromatic roots of lovage, and thus raising up a rival to the candied
ginger said to be imported from the Orient. If anyone likes coriander
and caraway--I confess that I don't--he can sugar the seeds to make
those little "comfits," the candies of our childhood which our mothers
tried to make us think we liked to crunch either separately or sprinkled
on our birthday cakes. Those were before the days when somebody's name
was "stamped on every piece" to aid digestion. Can we ever forget the
picnic when we had certain kinds of sandwiches? Our mothers minced sweet
fennel, the tender leaves of sage, marjoram or several other herbs,
mixed them with cream cheese, and spread a layer between two thin slices
of bread. Perhaps it was the swimming, or the three-legged racing, or
the swinging, or all put together, that put a razor edge on our
appetites and made us relish those sandwiches more than was perhaps
polite; but will we not, all of us who ate them, stand ready to dispute
with all comers that it was the flavors that made us forget "our

But sweet herbs may be made to serve another pleasing, an aesthetic
purpose. Many of them may be used for ornament. A bouquet of the pale
pink blossoms of thyme and the delicate flowers of marjoram, the
fragrant sprigs of lemon balm mixed with the bright yellow umbels of
sweet fennel, the finely divided leaves of rue and the long glassy ones
of bergamot, is not only novel in appearance but in odor. In sweetness
it excels even sweet peas and roses. Mixed with the brilliant red
berries of barberry and multiflora rose, and the dark-green branches of
the hardy thyme, which continues fresh and sweet through the year, a
handsome and lasting bouquet may be made for a midwinter table
decoration, a fragrant reminder of Shakespeare's lines in "A Winter's

"Here's flowers for you;
Hot lavender, mints, savory, marjoram;
The marigold, that goes to bed wi' the sun
And with him rises weeping."

The rare aroma of sweet marjoram reminds so many city people of their
mother's and their grandmother's country gardens, that countless muslin
bags of the dried leaves sent to town ostensibly for stuffing poultry
never reach the kitchen at all, but are accorded more honored places in
the living room. They are placed in the sunlight of a bay window where
Old Sol may coax forth their prisoned odors and perfume the air with
memories of childhood summers on the farm.

Other memories cling to the delicate little lavender, not so much
because the owner of a well-filled linen closet perfumed her spotless
hoard with its fragrant flowers, but because of more tender
remembrances. Would any country wedding chest be complete without its
little silk bags filled with dried lavender buds and blooms to add the
finishing touch of romance to the dainty trousseau of linen and lace?
What can recall the bridal year so surely as this same kindly lavender?

Next: A Dinner Of Herbs

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