It's Spring, time for that beloved annual tradition of ordering the seeds for the herb garden that my father grows every year. He whips out the catalogue as he instructs me to pick out at least ten things.
Of course, I gladly oblige because I like to feel as if he's planting me my own personal treasure trove of sweet Basil, rich Cilantro/Coriander, Lemongrass, several varieties of Thyme, Oregano and Rosemary just to name a few. More often than not, my list also includes a plethora of other produce. He never seems to mind though.
Let's face it, the man has a green thumb to be reckoned with. I on the other hand, just love to cook with the freshest ingredients available. He loves to eat great food so this symbiotic relationship is working out just fine for everyone involved.
The Spice Trade has been driving the world's economy since antiquity and has encouraged wide spread exploration. These newly discovered herbs and spices not only added flavor, they also helped to preserve foods in especially warmer climates, before the advent of refrigeration.
Many herbs and spices also held medicinal values previously unavailable to most people. Turmeric is known to have anti inflammatory properties. Cinnamon has been found to lower blood sugar levels and Ginger is known to soothe several stomach ailments.
Thanks to the crisscrossing trade routes that ancient explorers traversed around the globe, my dinner table now embraces flavor influences of the world, freshly picked from my Dad's garden thanks to his favorite seed catalogue. The delectable flavors and aromas that pervade the air sure do beat out that of their dehydrated counterparts found at the local super-mart. Garden to table freshness has it's own rewards.