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copyright ©1999-2006

old thyme delights
culinary classics for all

by Kiera Tara O'Brien 

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From rich Sunday roasts with Gran and Gramps to tangy Cajun dishes down on the bayou, thyme is a serious kitchen essential with old world roots and new world charm.

The superstar of the herb world, thyme has more credits to its name than Morgan Freeman and Katherine Hepburn put together. Itís been a Greek aphrodisiac, an Egyptian mummy embalming spice, the home of the fairies in Scandinavia and Britain, a medieval insect (and plague) repellent, a medical antiseptic in WWI, the symbol of the Republic during the French Revolution, and, of course, a favorite addition to tasty delights for 4000 years. Hollywood A-listers havenít got a thing on this bad boy.

A Mediterranean native at heart, it was the Romans who really gave thyme its first big break. They spread the multi-tasking herb from Britain to the Baltics. The key to lasting success: a subtle flavor that gets on well with diverse culinary co-stars.

You can find thyme in all the usual suspects of a weekly diet. Dried or fresh, a teaspoon of crushed leaves gives a delicate kick to meats, poultry, soups, sauces, breads, vegetables, salads and even desserts. Another perk: itís known to encourage good digestion, especially with fatty meats like lamb, pork or duck. No after-dining antacids required. thyminí it right
While dried thyme is a must in any kitchen pantry, you canít beat the flavor of the fresh stuff. To get those little leaves off the woody stem, just pinch your fingers along the stem and run in the reverse direction that the leaves are growing. Use the stripped leaves whole or chop them up.

Many post-college guys and gals are nervous to take on a spice with such a distinguished past. But with a completely doable dish for any occasion, now is the time to be brave. On the thyme-styled menu today: the 10-Minute Chef, the Official and Elegant Dinner Party, the Casual Crowd, the Afternoon BBQ and the Veggies-Only Household.

skedaddle this way for the recipes...


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