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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! 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 the vegetable garden (herb garden). Let's peep in.

The vegetable garden / herb 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 the vegetable garden in harmony.

Spading ForkAll these are familiar but what are those herb plants near the kitchen? They are sweet herbs. Traditionally we have never seen them on the table. They never play the 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.
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What are Culinary Herbs

One definition of sweet or culinary herbs are those annual, biennial or perennial plants whose green parts, tender roots or ripe seeds have an aromatic flavor and fragrance, due either to a volatile oil or to other chemically named substances peculiar to the individual species. Since many of them have pleasant odors they have been called sweet, and since they have been long used in cookery to add their characteristic flavors to soups, stews, dressings, sauces and salads, they are popularly called culinary. This last designation is less happy than the former, since many other herbs, such as cabbage, spinach, kale, dandelion and collards, are also culinary herbs. These garden vegetables are, however, probably more widely known as potherbs or greens. All these are grown in either the vegetable garden , herb garden or even amoungst the flowers. 

 
History of Herbs

It seems probable that many of the flavoring herbs now in use have been similarly employed before the erection of the pyramids. This statement is based largely upon imperfect records, perhaps, in many cases only hints more or less doubtful as to the various species. But it seems safe to conclude that a goodly number of the herbs discussed in this volume, especially those said to be natives of the Mediterranean region, overhung and perfumed the cradle of the human race in the Orient and marked the footsteps of our rude progenitors as they strode more and more sturdily toward the horizon of promise. This idea seems to gain support also from the fact that certain Eastern peoples, whom modern civilization declares to have uneducated tastes, still employ many herbs which have dropped by the wayside of progress, or like the caraway and the redoubtable "pusley," an anciently popular potherb, are but known in western lands as troublesome weeds.

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