I should say ‘easy-going’. The strong silent type, herbs stand quietly by and just when you need to add a little punch to something, anything, there they are.
In a botanical culinary sort of way they’re like dear friends, always there for you. When I planted an herb garden just outside the back door ten years ago, I had no idea how much it would simplify and influence our cooking, the ability to have what is needed to brighten the flavor of almost anything.
This isn’t a precious garden, it gets some attention in the spring, cleaning up and rearranging, after that not much of anything. That’s the way with herbs, they like to rough it. They’d be good on a camping trip – hike for miles without water and then bed down for the night without any fuss. The Mediterranean landscape is in their genes and rocky scruffy soil and dry conditions make them feel right at home. Sure, they respond to a little TLC, but the point is they don’t want or need a lot of attention. Not at all like roses who will throw a temper tantrum on a whim, herbs are the least spoiled child in the garden. Leave them alone, they’re happy campers.
I recently found this interesting piece, A Garden of Herbs, at Gourmet.com. It’s a slide show with text. Gourmet rounded up a few chefs and asked them about a favorite herb, so you’ve got thirteen chefs, thirteen herb photos, thirteen comments, and related recipe information. Succinct and informative, check it out. On Friday I’ll share a mostly local beverage made with herbs that you may have in your backyard.