My family absolutely loves to eat - it’s not just a function, it’s a passion. And cooking comes in a close second. It really was largely because of our grandmother who, fortunately for us, was a good cook.
Lola, as we fondly called our grandmother, insisted on cooking our meals while she was able to. When she passed away, processed and refined foods found their way into our kitchen. It was more convenient to prepare since both our parents had full-time jobs and didn’t have much time to cook proper meals. I ate what was served and I actually loved it while it lasted.
Even when I started work, I still couldn’t say no to fast food. Back then, I hardly had a care for my health. I loaded up with more accessible food options - processed foods. But when I decided to change my lifestyle and take control of my diet, I taught myself how to cook from scratch.
It wasn’t easy. I had so many kitchen mishaps and at one point cried, and crawled back to bed hungry. I love mayonnaise but making it from scratch was hell on my arms, my back, my body! (I hate you mayonnaise!) I spent countless hours working and cooking in the kitchen (which I really believe also contributed to my weight loss) and reminded myself not to be picky until I got things right. I was enjoying food again, the right kind this time.
Do you know the not-so-secret ingredients that make the food delicious? Herbs - the kitchen staple I make sure I never run out of. Herbs are divine, you shouldn’t ever cook without them. Fill up your pantry with these herbs that will make your tastebuds go umami! Or even better, why not grow your own herbs? Here are a few of them that you can easily grow in your backyard, even your kitchen counter!
Light scent, fresh taste, mild flavor. It has pointy and hearty leaves.
How to enjoy: Use it in soups, sauces. salsa and vegetables. When cooking, use flat-leaf parsley as it stands up better to longer cooking and has more flavor, while the curly kind is used mostly for garnishing.
Try this recipe: Herb-Crusted Chicken and Parsley Orzo
It’s green and leafy with with a pungent taste.
How to enjoy: The most popular recipe is probably the pesto sauce - toss it in your pasta and salad; sauce on your salmon and chicken, yes please! In Asian cooking, it adds character to an already flavorful dish such as chicken curry. Basil also goes well with spring and summer drinks, as well as soup.
Try this recipe: Autumn Carrot Basil Soup
Thin leaves with little pine-like needles. It has a distinctive smell described as a cross between lemony and pine.
How to enjoy: Using whole or chopped, among its favorite use is as a marinade for beef, chicken and lamb. It has a strong, sometimes overpowering flavor, but it makes for a savory dish.
Try this recipe: Lemon Rosemary Button Shortbreads
It has a bold flavor that others may find overwhelming.
How to enjoy: Use it with strong-flavored ingredients. This is the favorite in Mexican dishes. Mostly used as a garnish, except when making uncooked salsa, it’s tossed with other ingredients
Try this recipe: Mango Salsa
Grows on sprigs with small leaves. It has mint and lemon aromas.
How to enjoy: This is your all-purpose herb which is great in vegetable dishes, soups and stews; and roasted with fish and pork.
Try this recipe: Roast Pork with Thyme
Leaves are short and wide with coarse, hair-like texture. Oregano is aromatic and smells like mint.
How to enjoy: It’s a versatile herb but is a favorite seasoning in pizzas and pastas.
Try this recipe: Pizza Arrabbiata
They have long, hollow, and grass-like leaves with a smooth texture and a hint of onion.
How to enjoy: A favorite additive to eggs but also works wonders in soups, vegetables, and main dishes.
Try this recipe: Egg Salad Sandwich