Herbs, Opera, and Malcolm Gladwell

I’ve been reading a strange mix of books recently. Here are several ones I’ve enjoyed:

homegrown herbs  Homegrown Herbs by Tammi Hartung. All about growing, harvesting, and using herbs. I’m diving into the world of herbs and loving it; my uses for herbs have expanded beyond the occasional culinary use.  This library book has been a great reference.





medicinal herbsRosemary Gladstar’s Medicinal Herbs. Such a non-threatening introduction to medicinal herbs. Rosemary (did she change her name to make it an herb???) organizes the book well and uses easy-to-follow language. I’m already making my list of herbs to plant next year.




bel cantoBel Canto by Ann Patchett. This novel is responsible for my strange journey into the world of opera. After picking up my books from the library Josiah asked, “What’s up with opera?” I really don’t know. Sometimes new interests pop up in unexpected places. I will add that Bel Canto, though gripping, does contain some elements that some readers may not feel comfortable with (sexuality and a little violence). I did find it to be a fascinating story of the power of music in a hostage situation, making me dream of alternative ways to peace and cooperation.



tippingpointThe Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell.  I’m gradually working my way through all of Gladwell’s books; I love his research and story-telling.







Book Review: The Cook’s Herb Garden

cook'sherbgarden copy

Photo credit: suzettesuzette / Foter.com / CC BY

My in-laws gave me The Cook’s Herb Garden for my birthday. (Thanks guys!)  I’ve enjoyed skimming through it. I’m excited for warmer weather and the chance to work in my herb bed.

Organization and Features

The book contains four main sections: choose, grow, harvest & store, and cook. The choose section features an herb catalog with photos and information. For each herb, the authors include information for growing, harvesting, and cooking. If you are new to gardening, the grow section will help you get started without feeling overwhelmed. The harvesting and cooking sections were of course my favorites. I want to try rosemary oil and oregano butter.  At the back of the book, the authors included some charts of foods and what herbs you can partner with the foods. For example, pair figs with cilantro or lavender, or grapes with cilantro or lemon.

Something I learned

Jonathunder / Foter.com / CC BY-SA

I learned something new. You can freeze garlic by separating into cloves, shaping in a roll and covering in plastic wrap. You don’t need to include water or oil. I will have to try that. I am very lazy when it comes to garlic.  I frequently use garlic powder so I don’t have to deal with peeling and mincing.

Something I would change

  • Add a list of recommended resources for learning more about herbs – herbs as medicine, more recipes, etc.
  • More recipes – especially recipes that kids would be into (or at least willing to try)

Things I love

  • Awesome photos
  • Organization
  •  Great size, and just the right amount of detail

Do you enjoy growing or using herbs? Any resources that you would recommend?