Herb is the Word

What makes an herb different from a vegetable, or a spice?

Herbs are primarily defined by their use as seasoning or flavoring instead of, say, a basil salad where they would be considered a mere vegetable. They are strong and potent, much like the spices that we so enjoy. Herbs are the green, leafy parts of plants which are flavorful, while spices come from seeds, bark, roots, flowers, and so on—basically anything else.

There is really no comparison. Green beans may be nutritious, but taken alone they really are quite bland in spite of their size, while even a single herb leaf like bay can smooth out textures or even keep insects out of your rice; just a single leaf on top keeps those pesky bugs out of the container!

Herbs really make me think of a complete meal. Spice is quick, throw a little in the pan while you are cooking, but herbs mean my kitchen is well-stocked and I can cook a long soup without it turning into a bland schlooping mass of tender ingredients. It means I can make meat pies that taste like they were from the Mediterranean, or have teas for when I'm feeling shabby. Herbs are that extra step beyond what is normal now, a reaching back to yesterday's traditional cooking and culture.


It is just one more thing that makes me pleased with the CSA box every week. It is complete and replete with a balanced and whole portion of food. The only thing about its inclusion of herbs, though, is that now I have to think about the war of pronunciation:

Do you say it "hurb" or "erb?"