Excerpts taken from The Spice Cookbook, circa 1964  and woven in and out of recipes from Cooking Melangeryit's often a treasure to learn the history or myths regarding the most common spices used today.
Below are few of my favorites.

spice lore

| rosemary | 
an evergreen of the mint family
the small flower on rosemary
once was white
legend recounts that one night
the Virgin Mary fleeing
Herod's soldiers
with the Christ child
hung her sky blue cloak
on a rosemary bush
and from that day on
the color of rosemary blossoms
were transformed to blue

| thyme | 
a symbol of activity
bees have never been able
to resist the fragrance of thyme 
for the ancient Greeks relished
the honey made by them 
while they buzzed over 
Mt. Hymettus
it is very well known that
the smell of thyme 
was once one of the 
most desirable compliments
one Athenian could 
offer another
| saffron | 
the Greeks and Romans
called saffron Krokus
this precious bulb
was taken by Roman legions
all over Europe
until the fall of the empire
and the beginning of the dark ages
saffron, a luxury
became only a memory
reappearing several centuries later
it was and now is considered
a delicate and beautiful treasure
belonging to Roman Gods
| mint |
mythology's romance with mint
is that of a dramatic one 
it is believed that mint was
once the nymph Menthe
unfortunate to have attracted 
the eye of Pluto 
Persephone the jealous wife
pursued Menthe
and trod her ferociously underfoot
Pluto was unable to control his wife's fury
changed Menthe in to a delightful herb
ever after sacred to this God of the underworld

| enjoy | 
with anything and everything your heart desires


Christine Martin said...

ooh, i'm sharing this with a friend who loves the culinary arts. beautiful.

Jamy of Fourth Street said...

that's so wonderful Christine. i loved learning about these myths and imagine the spice cookbook is a keeper. have a wonderful weekend. :)