Thyme is the spice that gets along with everything. If thyme were a person, he would buy you a drink on your birthday. They would tell you good gossip. She wouldn’t check the expiration date on your coupons at the grocery store. She would be your best friend. Rich in aroma, as well as history, thyme brings a lot to any table, whether it’s veggie side dishes, omelets, stocks and soups, pork, chicken or seafood entree’s, “Om-E-Let” you decide how you like it best! (see what I did there? Food puns are fun!)
The history of thyme (see there? did it again!) can be traced back to the birth of sweet baby Jesus, where, apparently it’s been said, thyme was in the stack of hay where he was born. Originally grown in the Mediterranean, the word thyme is derived from Latin and originally meant “to fumigate” – and it did just that in ancient temples. The Romans carried it throughout the land on their trade routes (as they were known to do) and today we have almost 100 different varieties.
“Garden Thyme” is the most well known and commonly used in both fresh and dried versions. It’s used a lot in French cooking – it’s used along with parsley and basil in the traditional “bouquet garni” to add flavor to soups and stews, as well as in Herbs de Provence, which might sound fancy-schmancy, but is a well known blend of dried herbs that is GREAT for grilling meats. Other thyme varieties include lemon thyme and orange thyme (but no clemen-thyme or outta-thyme . . .zing!)
Thyme has also been known for it’s medicinal qualities. Thymol oil has been derived from thyme and has been used to treat everything from the plague, to insect bites, to dandruff (yuck). It’s also been used to treat coughs, sore throat and as a decongestant – and was even used as an antiseptic to prevent bacteria growth during World War II. I’ve only used it in cooking myself. I’m all for homeopathic crap, but I’ll just take Chloraseptic and Nyquil for my coughs and sore throat, thank you very much.
You should try it in salad dressings and add it to any kind of salad. It’s GREAT used in Herbes de Provence, or by itself to help season any kind of meat. I also use it in tomato sauces and, as I mentioned above, I’ll add it to eggs and omelets. It goes well with pretty much everything without overpowering, and just like a good friend, it won’t talk behind your back either. Go ahead, invite thyme into your kitchen to stay awhile.
“It’s something unpredictable, but in the end is right. I hope you have the thyme of your life.” (heyy-oh!)