Friday, May 13, 2011

Mmmm basil

"In many cultures it is common to use basil as a symbol for love, holiness, purity, and sanctity, among many others." — The Complete Guide to Basil

IF YOU'VE read Hey Look Something Shiny, you may recall that I mentioned how much I hate cilantro. Ptuey!! 

As much as I despise cilantro, I love basil. In fact in our house, the official name for it is mmmmbasil, because whenever I smell it, I can't help but say with a deep inhalation, "Mmmm, basil."

I'm curious as to whether the rest of the population subset who can't stand cilantro, adores basil as much as I do — like maybe it's a thing where if you hate cilantro, you really, really love basil.

Basil is a member of the mint family. Depending on whether you trust Ohio State University or Purdue, there are either more than 40 (or 50) different varieties of basil, but the one known and used most is Ocimum basilicum, otherwise called sweet basil. Basil is native to India and other tropical areas of Asia and has been cultivated for at least 5000 years. Ocimum is from the Greek verb that means "to be fragrant", and basilius is the Greek word for "king".

Basil is believed to have stomach-soothing, stomach-settling properties. Herbalists recommend it for indigestion, constipation and stomachache. It's also thought to have anti-inflamatory, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties and well as being a natural mosquito repellant. No wonder it's called the "king of herbs." Mmmm, basil.

BTW, Paul cooked fresh asparagus in the wok last night in lemon olive oil, and it was so amazingly delicious. Lemon olive oil and basil olive oil are our new secret ingredients.

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