By JOYCE ARLEEN CORSON
Are the two really related? I think they are through kitchen recipes. It is easy to take for granted the accessibility of herbs and spices. If you live in a climate that supports the growth of spice trees or shrubs for flavor and scent such as the Mediterranean Valley you will be able to grow them yourself. These spices, used for commerce in the Eastern World found their way to the Middle East before the beginning of the Christian era. Early writings and stone age carvings give way for early trade routes through the spice gardens of India.
Not to be confused with Lindera melissifolia a species of common spice shrubs named spicewood, spicebush and Benjamin bush growing in North America, much like Pawpaw, Asimina triloba with fruit edible, baring not on a predictable seasonal schedule.
We received a spice rack loaded with cute decorative bottles filled with onion salt, ground pepper, celery seasoning salt, hickory smoked salt, paprika, whole cloves, ground cinnamon, herb blend for salad, and parsley flakes for a wedding gift. It was a wonderful token of what was yet to come with my culinary experiences. My degree in home economics only touched the surface of the real meaning of the family of seasonings.Only through the process of cooking foods for the family, landscaping the garden with many beautiful herbs, and collecting favorite culinary recipes have I realized the fabulous impact of this way of life.
Not often do the names of plants actually say who they are. For example Russian Sage, perovskia atriplicifolia, a popular deciduous perennial shrub and a real stunner in the garden, isn’t really from Russia. It is native to Tibet and was brought to the Western World by a Russian general. The leaves should not be used in cooking but the blossoms may be used as a table accessory. The darling cilantro is both an herb and a spice. The seed of cilantro is formed after the blossom is pollinated and is called coriander and you don’t even need to sail the seven seas to find it. It can be growing in your back yard or the herb gar- den of choices. The leaves are edible and used in salsa, the seed may be ground and used as flavoring in beef or chicken based soup.
This fabulous Pesto recipe, with ingredients from around the world, prepared fresh should be used immediately, refrigerated or frozen for future use. Herb paste may be purchased as well.
Epicurean recipe for Pesto:
!/4 C fresh basil leaves 1/4 C cilantro if desired !/2 C olive oil
1/3 C pine nuts
1⁄4 C freshly grated parmesan cheese
Combine first four ingredients in blender until a paste is formed often push down basil
1⁄4 C freshly grated pecorino Sardo or sheep parmesian cheese
1 T Kosher salt
Add last two ingredients and top with 1” of olive oil