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Exploring “The Herbal Kitchen”

If you are one of the many who are enjoying home grown food, local author Kami McBride has something to tell you. She’d like you to think about growing some of your own medicine in that same garden plot. And she says that a portion of that food you are already growing is medicine and that we can all learn, quite easily, to use it as a means of staying as healthy as possible.  As one of two writers who talked about their new books a few weeks ago, at the Winters Community Library, a branch of the Yolo County Library system,  Kami provided a look into the world of herbal knowledge. The Herbal Kitchen is part history book, part herbal guide, and part recipe book. It is an excellent reference book for anyone interested in getting the most nutrition possible from their daily meals and one fortunate reader will, thanks to Kami’s generosity, receive their own copy simply by commenting on this post! All readers commenting by 8:00 PM September 21 will have their names put into a random-number-generated drawing and the winner will be announced here on September 22.

Passing around branches of rosemary for the audience to savor, she explained that we don’t just use herbs for taste, but that way back in time specific herbs were linked with specific foods and with use at certain times of the year. Those links were based on knowledge of the ways in which herbs enhanced digestion, reduced bacteria in foods, and supported health in many other ways. The rosemary many tasted not only aides digestion, it has antibacterial and antifungal properties and is a great circulation stimulator, increasing mental clarity and memory and reducing fatigue. The Herbal Kitchen is set up so that if you for some unknown odd reason don’t like rosemary (I am trying to learn to tolerate it!) you can look at the properties of other herbs and combine them to get a similar result.

Kami possesses a wealth of information in regard to herbs and began by focusing on some of those with which we are most familiar, leading the audience to a realization that perhaps we know more than we think. For instance, we are all familiar with the family of spices we consider ‘fall spices’ , cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg among others.The smell of a richly spiced bread or pie reminds us of the fall and winter holidays.  Coincidentally (or not!) these spices all have antibacterial, antioxidant, antiviral properties; this is just what we need as we spend more time indoors exposed to more germs in close quarters.

Reading the 50 descriptions of herbs comprising the first part of the book I discovered that many of those 50 are carminative. This was a word I did not know and it is an important one! What this means is that these herbs increase digestive capacity, an important consideration as weather becomes colder and daylight hours grow shorter, resulting in a decreased ability to absorb nutrients from our food. Kami explains that as the year winds to an end we often eat richer foods, many of them more highly spiced than some of the simpler foods we eat in the warmer months.  At one point in time food preparers knew just what herbs were needed to maximize food values and as a result we have traditions of seasonality in cooking.

The second part of the book is a wonderful collection of recipes for marinades, drinks, vinegars, cordials, oils, sprinkles, and more. There are so many easy ways to incorporate herbs into our daily diet that even the most apprehensive cook will discover ways to enhance their meals and health right from the start. As those easy additions become second nature and more experimenting seems intriguing, or when individual health issues arise, having The Herbal Kitchen on hand will make it all so much easier. So don’t forget…comment before the deadline so that you don’t miss your chance to own this guide for free!

You can learn more about Kami, or buy a copy of The Herbal Kitchen if you are not the lucky winner, at her website here.


11 Responses to Exploring “The Herbal Kitchen”

  1. Frances September 8, 2011 at 11:11 am #

    That sounds like a fabulous book, Leslie, thanks for enlightening us. Sign me up for the random drawing, please!


  2. Pat Bevington September 8, 2011 at 1:02 pm #

    What wonderful timing! I have been growing vegetables for years, and am just now trying to add some herbs to my garden. This sounds like a great resource!

  3. Chris September 8, 2011 at 3:12 pm #

    I have a small herb garden and would love to expand it. The info in Kami’s book should help. I hope I win the drawing!

  4. Jennie Brooks September 8, 2011 at 3:18 pm #

    now THIS sounds like the sort of history i’d be interested in. and by the way, rosemary is my favorite herb. sometimes i cut a piece just to set on my desk at work bc it smells so heavenly. i had no idea rosemary was good for so many wonderful things. whoever wins this book will be LUCKY indeed. thanks for the opportunity and for writing what looks to be a fabulous piece of art.

  5. Debbie McMurry September 8, 2011 at 5:43 pm #

    The book sounds wonderful. I grow and cook with herbs and lvoe the taste and smells!
    Would love readying your great ideas.

  6. Judi Adelman September 9, 2011 at 8:33 am #

    I use as many fresh herbs that I can get The taste is sooo much better than dry I am excited about reading more about the medicinal properties as well

  7. Ann September 9, 2011 at 12:40 pm #

    I would love to peruse this and make active use of it in my kitchen!

  8. wendy September 9, 2011 at 3:05 pm #

    I have always taken supplements because i am allergic to many antibiotics so i am very interested in the book—also a cook at a nursing home

  9. Chris September 11, 2011 at 11:10 am #

    This sounds fascinating. It never occurred to me that the spices and herbs we use seasonally were originally used for health reasons. I’d love to take a look at this book. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  10. Joy September 13, 2011 at 6:07 pm #

    I have a small herb garden and would love to read this book to discover new herbs as well as new uses for the more familiar ones.

  11. Val September 21, 2011 at 8:27 pm #

    Oh, just missed it! Sounds fascinating!
    Leslie, still enjoying all your articles even though we’re not in town anymore.