Becoming a Culinary Rebel: Dried Herbs and Spices vs Traditional Ways

Becoming a Culinary Rebel: Dried Herbs and Spices vs Traditional Ways

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Do you have a picky eater in your home? In my home, although he’s 28yrs old, my son is that picky eater!

Last year sometime, I was rather encouraged by a study Mercola found: herbs-and-spices-lower-blood-pressure-pdf, where researchers discovered that merely encouraging participants to season their food with any of several choices from 24 different spices, reduced their blood pressure by a large margin! So many times over the years, I was told there was very little nutritional benefit to be found in dried spices above the stove! But at the same time, I was regularly adding such spices and herbs to my home cooking, partly due to making the food taste better, but also due to knowing that the various herbs had nutritional properties I wanted my family to have.

Bucking the trends back then included the fact that even back then, people were crowing over Turmeric and how beneficial it was, and guess what??!! It was dried!!! People talked for centuries about how beneficial dried mustard powder was and how useful for both food and medicinal chest rubs! Guess what??!! You can’t powder fresh seeds, they must be dried or roasted first! So the idea that the spices above the stove would be essentially useless never made sense. When the Mercola article crossed my desk, I was pointing at the screen showing my kids that, “Hey! See??? See??? This was a big reason you guys stayed healthier when you were young!”

pasta potWell, tonight’s dinner menu was pasta hamburger alfredo, our own recipe that grew out of one my daughter brought home from school one year. She refuses to eat store-bought pre-made alfredo and will ONLY eat this recipe!

What made it our own??? We discovered that adding my pumpkin spice blend instead of just nutmeg gave the sauce a fuller flavour. My blend is 2 parts cinnamon, 1 part nutmeg and 1 part ginger. We try to buy non-irradiated cinnamon whenever possible. After my large spice order that was part replenish and part stock up last summer, I actually had a tub of just nutmeg in the house again, so I’ve been make it slightly more traditionally, but tonight, I did the spice blend again. The second change that made this recipe ours, was being willing to use whatever we had on hand for milk and not get upset if it was too thin or too thick. The thicker the sauce, the more we know we’re using higher-fat milk products. While the liver support I gained through foraging over the past 7 years has made it far easier to handle high fat loads than in the past, it can still sometimes lead to intestinal discomfort. So a thinner recipe works better for me. The third thing about this recipe that changed was going from fresh chopped garlic to the dried crushed garlic (not the salt or powder).

My son can’t stand chunks of onion or garlic in his food (among other taboo food combinations in his mind). But he’s perfectly ok with onion powder or garlic granules in his food! This allows me to get onion and garlic into him without the fuss of trying to get him to eat the fresh stuff.

The last thing about dried herbs and spices that has openly and frequently differed (by many nutritionists and herbalists) from the idea that there was very little nutrition to be found in anything dried and crushed, is that tea blends, infusions and decoctions are often typically made from dried herbs and spices! Why would common herbology recommend dried herbs for various medicinal teas if their nutrients were almost completely gone??!!

So tonight’s sauce was made with dried, powdered or crushed ingredients! Traditional chef’s will have a bird, but tradition is less important than feeding one’s family well, in ways they will accept.

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