J500 Media and the Environment


I’m no Bob Marley… by Janie

…but I do like my herb.  My sage, oregano, parsley, and thyme of course.

basil: my favorite herb

basil: my favorite herb

The comforting taste of my mother’s basil chicken on a cold winter’s day, the refreshing bite of mint in a glass of lemonade, the sleepy scent of lavender in potpourri.  Herbs are a natural way to liven up food, prevent illnesses, and “Febreze” your home.  Many herb plants are easy to grow indoors or in a window box, and can be found at any garden or outdoor store, such as the Sunrise Garden Center here in Lawrence, KS.

Then why do many of us reach for a McCormick’s shaker instead?

Influenced by our society’s switch from homemade to storebought, we’ve been “trained” to believe that the latter is better, cheaper, and faster: all qualities of being modern.  We’ve forgotten that basil weren’t always little green specks and lavender weren’t crumpled purple things, but rather actual leaves and flowers.  That our steaks once mooed or that our loaves of bread once rippled in the wind as waves of wheat.

And our self-inflicted amnesia doesn’t stop there.  We’ve forgotten we’re a part of the natural world and removed ourselves from the sacred balance of life and death.  Doing so has allowed us to blamelessly pollute, desecrate, and kill the earth we were once part of.  Herbs may not be the real problem, but it is a definitely a reflection of one.

It may be easier to use packaged basil, but there’s nothing like the friendly, fresh smell of basil growing in your kitchen to remind you of where it all comes from.

Janie Chen

photo from flickr

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5 Comments so far
Leave a comment

I will admit I didn’t appreciate cooking with herbs until I worked at a magazine about them last year. Now I buy them and eat with them often! Even grocery stores such as HyVee (along with obvious places such as The Merc) sell fresh herbs in bulk.

Comment by jessicasb

As a kid, my mother would freeze her home-grown herbs to use all winter (they were long Iowa winters). Frozen wasn’t as great as fresh, but it was better than dried specs from a plastic shaker.
As an adult I really appreciate the intense flavors that herbs offer. A mojito is just not a mojito without fresh mint.

Comment by mackenzies09

I agree: a mojito is the best way to use fresh mint. Yumm.

Comment by janiec52

mmmmmm. your post darn near had me smelling fresh mint right here in my bedroom. amazing writing!

Comment by justinl7

Justin is right… your writing is amazing!

It made me think of walking around the block at my grandparent’s house. Most of their neighbors have lavender, mint and basil drooping over onto the sidewalk. Any memory of walking with my grandpa is intrinsically tied to the smell of mint or lavender– I never passed a plant without plucking a piece and crushing it in my little fingers.

Comment by brennad87




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