Bananas are apparently under attack again. I say again because back in the 1950s the Gros Michel banana supply was devastated by Panama disease and so the world switched to the Cavendish cultivar. The Cavendish is now under threat from a new strain of Panama disease called TR4 as well as something called Black Sigatoka. Don’t panic banana lovers! Scientists are making a GMO plan and besides, there are over 2000 banana cultivars out there. Some are very tasty but they may have spots on. I’m sure we can live with that.
Ok, so what do bananas have to do with my favourite herbs? Well, the crisis made me think about what I would do if my favourite herbs suddenly disappeared because of a fungus or nuclear war. If it was because of nuclear war I’d have to put both my heads together and think really hard about it. But for today this is my list, in no particular order, because I tend to cook with clusters of my favourite herbs.
First up is coriander; also known as cilantro in some parts of the world and dhania in others. It’s all very confusing but here’s the simple explanation. The Latin name for the herb is Coriandrum sativum, hence it being called coriander in the UK and many other countries. Cilantro is the Spanish translation of coriander and this is what it’s called in the US. I bet Donald is already tweeting how he loves coriander but hates cilantro even though he doesn’t eat it and that cilantro farmers must “send it back”.
In India and South Africa (except in the supermarkets) it’s called Dhania and tastes just wonderful. To me. I add it to everything. I steam my curries with fresh coriander and add it to salads and rice dishes and omelettes and… It’s not for everyone though. I thought my friend was just being weird and picky when she said she hates coriander. Turns out that some people have taste buds which make coriander taste like soap. We all know what soap tastes like. Fu@!&#ing hate the taste of soap! So it’s sad for my friend, but she wouldn’t care if coriander was wiped out. I have a secret stash of seeds just in case. Well, they’re not really coriander seeds but we’ll need those seeds in the event of nuclear war.
My next herb is garlic. I cook pretty much everything with garlic as well. As a natural antibiotic, garlic is a handy herb to keep illness at bay, and apparently vampires too. For the same reason. Russian folklore has it that vampires are created by a blood infection, which garlic would obviously kill. A shortage of garlic could therefore open us up to a vampire invasion. If this is something that worries you, here’s a kit that might help:
Vampire Repellent Kit
- 1 wooden stake (sharpened)
- Holy water (enough to sprinkle) Tip – store this in something hard (not plastic) so that you can throw it at the vampire if you run out of the water.
- 2 silver crosses
- 15 garlic cloves (peeled but not chopped)
Right, on to my 3rd herb – Thyme. Now, some of you may claim that Thyme is a man-made construct and that it bends around itself so that yesterday is today and tomorrow all at once. Firstly, I think you are confusing Thyme with one of my other favourite foods – shrooms. And secondly, maybe you planted it in the wrong spot in the garden? Perhaps it’s just following the sun? And now you’re going to tell me that the sun doesn’t move around us and that the earth rotates around the sun. Which brings me back to my first point and another simple recipe.
- 1 shroom (not finely chopped)
- 1 corner (rondavels won’t do)
- Pop shroom into mouth
- Go sit in the corner
- Contemplate the true meaning of being (do not look at navel)
I’m not a huge fan of rosemary, but can you say the words rosemary and thyme without starting to sing about the unlikely possibility of going to a Scarborough fair? Which brings me to Parsley. Not a fan of that either. Sage? Meh….Mint! I do love mint. I chop fresh mint into baked beans and add a teaspoon of mayonnaise… I’m weirdly English about baked beans. Oh and mint on ice-cream and of course in a jug of sangria. I love mint! Can you say mojitos?
Mega Mojitos Recipe
- 1 bucket of lime juice
- 1 jug of sugar
- 4 buckets of white rum
- 4 bushes of mint leaves
- 1 bucket of club soda
- 1 small Alaskan iceberg (roughly chopped)
- Throw lime juice, mint leaves and sugar into a tin tub
- Stomp around in the tub until you start giggling with joy
- Add rum while giggling with joy
- Get out of tub and add ice and club soda
- Drink with friends while confirming the thyme theory
Finally. My last favourite herb. No, not the newly legalised dooby herb. It’s fennel. I love liquorice and fennel has a similar taste. One can’t add too much to a dish. It’s a trick to get the subtleness. My favourite fennel dish is the fennel and leek pasta with smoky cheese sauce and caramelised walnuts that Analize and I created. I won’t joke about fennel. It’s a seriously important herb that I would struggle to live without. Fennel and the big four.
And that’s my list. Which 5 herbs would you not want to live without, and can you tell us why?