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Apr 12, 2013 10:16 AM

Parsley-Sage-Rosemary & Thyme

I have a young relative who is an emerging CH with limited eating/cooking experience. She is Looking for some basic information about using spices, herbs, basic ingredients. She didn't know that there are generally agreed upon combinations like fish/dill, lamb/rosemary, tomato/basil, etc. Are there books you might recommend? She lives far from me and I can't invite her to cook simple meals with me. Please help.

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  1. The Flavor Bible by Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg is a great resource for this kind of information.

    2 Replies
    1. re: hohokam


      Thank you so much! I'm off to Amazon.

      1. re: hohokam

        I would also add in Dorenburg & Page's Culinary Artistry- its a similar volume of thoughts but from a decade earlier and has more "conventional" pairings and is slightly easier to navigate. It lives in my toolbox.

      2. The original comment has been removed
        1. Mark Bittman's "How to Eat Everything" includes a table of every herb and spice you've heard of and some you haven't, with what each is good for. Also a good basic discussion of seasoning. It's also an outstanding cookbook, especially for beginners and those unsure of themselves.

          1. A couple of book recommendation from the fine folks at World Spice Merchants comes to mind. They even sell the books.


            5 Replies
            1. re: HillJ

              I just had a look at that link. World Spice Merchants doesn't sell fresh herbs, only dried ones, and they don't always explain how to use the most common ones, such as parsley. The blurbs read like sales pitches, not instruction. Also, they list a huge array of herbs and spices, bewildering for a beginning cook and even for me - 12 kinds of salt, including several kinds of sea salt, but not ordinary table salt which they don't sell.

              1. re: John Francis

                John F, each individual dried spice has a caption that describes it. Each spice blend has a description that also breaks down the individual spices contained within the blend. Each recipe a detailed instruction. While I have been buying spices from WSM for years, I have no commercial relationship to this Seattle co. I didn't see a request for fresh herbs only in the OP. Maybe the site was overkill for you, I happen to adore the offerings.

                However, the link I provided was in response to a list of books on the subject of herbs and spices. The recommended list on the WSM site was my intention.

                1. re: John Francis

                  I just went back to read WSM's description under dried parsley and what I'm reading is their recommendation to not buy too much at one time in order to enjoy the full flavor of the dried herb. That's value information from a spice house.

                2. re: HillJ

                  I love WSM. Just got a new Penzey's catalog today and I think their prices are higher for some things.

                  1. re: ItalianNana

                    Penzey's is higher on some things. I usually price check one against the other but I prefer the packaging of WSM.

                  1. re: linguafood

                    will that print out like a poster, lingua?

                    1. re: HillJ

                      Dunno, haven't tried. If you do, let us know. I love that site for many things, but this one is just fab.

                      1. re: linguafood

                        Yes it will, as a strip poster. From Chrome, right click to save, d/l and print.

                    2. re: linguafood

                      Are you referring to the trivia book?

                      1. re: ItalianNana

                        Did you click the link? I don't understand your question.

                        1. re: linguafood

                          I did, but I have a hunch my iphone is not downloading the graphics or something. Now, mind you, I can be a trifle dense from time to time, but I couldn't see any food references at all. I found the book on Amazon and the reviews are glowing but one called it a brilliant trivia book and I saw no cooking references. :-( Feel free to slap me upside the head if I am just missing the boat here.

                          1. re: ItalianNana

                            It's not a link to a book at all. It's a link to a website that does great graphics for all kinds of topics.

                            This particular link shows flavor combinations for all kinds of foods....

                            I'm genuinely confused as to how the link doesn't make sense to you and your query. But I may well need a slap up the head right now, too. 'tis late.

                            1. re: linguafood

                              I just tested it from my iPhone, the graphics don't show up like they did on my computer so I see why Nana is confused :)