Uses Basil Is One Of The Most Popular Herbs In The French Cuisine

It is especially relished in mock turtle soup, which, when correctly

made, derives its peculiar taste chiefly from the clovelike flavor of

basil. In other highly seasoned dishes, such as stews and dressings,

basil is also highly prized. It is less used in salads. A golden yellow

essential oil, which reddens with age, is extracted from the leaves for

uses in perfumery more than in the kitchen.

The original
and famous Fetter Lane sausages, formerly popular with

Cockney epicures, owed their reputation mainly to basil. During the

reigns of Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth farmers grew basil in pots

and presented them with compliments to their landladies when these paid

their visits.


(Borago officinalis, Linn.), a coarse, hardy, annual herb of

the natural order Boraginaceae. Its popular name, derived from the

generic, is supposed by some to have come from a corruption of cor,

the heart, and ago, to affect, because of its former use as a cordial

or heart-fortifying medicine. Courage is from the same source. The

Standard Dictionary, however, points to burrago, rough, and relates it

indirectly by cross references to birrus, a thick, coarse woolen cloth

worn by the poor during the thirteenth century. The roughness of the

full-grown leaves suggests flannel. Whichever derivation be correct,

each is interesting as implying qualities, intrinsic or attributed, to

the plant.

The specific name indicates its obsolete use in medicine. It is one of

the numerous plants which have shaken off the superstitions which a

credulous populace wreathed around them. Almost none but the least

enlightened people now attribute any medicinal virtues whatever to it.

The plant is said to come originally from Aleppo, but for centuries has

been considered a native of Mediterranean Europe and Africa, whence it

has become naturalized throughout the world by Europeans, who grew it

probably more for medicinal than for culinary purposes. According to

Ainslie, it was among the species listed by Peter Martyr as planted on

Isabella Island by Columbus's companions. The probability is that it was

also brought to America by the colonists during Queen Elizabeth's time.

It has been listed in American seedsmen's catalogues since 1806, but the

demand has always been small and the extent to which it is cultivated

very limited.

Description.--Borage is of somewhat spreading habit, branchy, about 20

inches tall. Its oval or oblong-lanceolate leaves and other green parts

are covered with whitish, rather sharp, spreading hairs. The flowers,

generally blue, sometimes pink, violet-red, or white, are loosely

racemed at the extremities of the branches and main stems.

"The flaming rose glooms swarthy red;

The borage gleams more blue;

And low white flowers, with starry head,