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Food Media

A Philosophy of Herbs

MGZ | Jul 3, 201505:54 AM     5

While the nation continues to struggle with the debate over "Traditional Guacamole", the Gray Lady published another interesting read related to the relevance of tradition in how we think of and prepare food. Me, I'm no purist, open-minded deviance (as well as open-minded deviants) is well within my comfort zone. Yucking someone's yum seems like a bad idea in general, but a horrible one when done based on nothing more than untested belief.

The piece struck even more closely for me since the subject is one I've considered before. I will acknowledge that there are some tried-and-true, classic uses for certain herbs. Rosemary and lamb, basil and tomatoes, mint and bourbon are legendary because they really work; but, that shouldn't mean that rosemary ice cream, basil shrimp, or mint pesto are unavailable. The question coming from this, and worth considering, is: What are the other classic herb/food partnerships?

As to "a philosophy of herbs", I'd say I have at least one tenet: Things that grow together can go together. If my tomatoes aren't ready while the basil is bountiful, I'm happy to use it with the freshly picked eggplant or watermelon. Fundamentally, it's just a seasonality thing, but all that perfectly ripe summer produce sure does seem to find some tasty bonds with the herbs thriving alongside it. Any others?

Or, to put all this another way: How do you herb?*

* Suddenly, I have an urge for the "taste of honey". By the way, look at the song list on this album and tell me Mr. Alpert wasn't a food geek: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whipped...

A Philosophy of Herbs

Their essence is in their usefulness.

www.nytimes.com
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