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.