Here is another guilty secret. I’m kind of addicted to watching TV Chef competitions – not the baking ones since I’ve worked hard to train my brain to not crave cupcakes or croissants and other carb-rich foods. But I have this fascination with the awesome flavour profiles in the savoury dishes that these top chefs create. Hearing them talk about the herbs or spices they are adding, and the judges’ glowing responses to these dishes, I can almost smell the aromas and taste the flavour coming from the TV screen.
Generally speaking herbs come from the leafy parts of the plants whereas spices come from the non-leafy part like seeds, roots or flowers. I have long been interested in the genetic predisposition to hate the herb, cilantro – I am one of the 15% or so of the population to whom cilantro tastes like soap and just a sprinkle of cilantro can destroy my enjoyment of a dish. However, I enjoy the spicy flavour of coriander seeds from the same plant.
Many herbs and spices have been prized throughout history for their medicinal qualities as much as for their taste. Today we hear a lot about the anti-inflammatory effect of curcumin, the active ingredient from the turmeric root, or the value of ginger tea infusions in calming digestive upsets.
What are the favorite herbs and spices you use to make your cooking burst with flavour?
By the way, one of my coffee table books that I treasure is called SPICE Health Heroes. You can read my review here.
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