Precious Herbs...

In a land far, far away, a million years ago, that is Seaton Carew (Hartlepool) back in 1985, when fresh herbs were as rare as Marijuana, as a budding chef I searched high and low for these essential ingredients to flavour my dishes.

Parsley was not so bad because I could occasionally get it from our friendly greengrocer's Heckels and Hunter, who thought I was mad to add anything else but a pinch of salt to food. Herbs such as coriander, rosemary, sage, fennel or dill, etc... were unheard of.

I suddenly had a brainwave! A tiny ad in the Hartlepool Mail.
Fresh herbs desperately
wanted by restaurant.
Please call...

The same afternoon as the advert appeared in the paper, a reporter called and offered to help me in my quest for fresh herbs.
The following day my photo, with chef's hat and all, appeared on the front page! There mustn't have been any major crimes to report that day. A two-column story followed.
"Chef... Herbs...blah...blah...blah"

My restaurant was besieged by gardeners and housewives loaded with herbs... Parsley, Thyme, Green Sage, Purple Sage, Apple Mint, Spearmint, Lemon Mint, Rosemary... and... LOVAGE! I had no idea such a lovely herb existed.

I was overwhelmed by the response.
The next day the Mail did a follow-up story in which it passed on my thanks to those helpful people, especially the ones who who had anonymously placed bagfuls of herbs through the restaurant's letterbox. A practice that went on for months.

Nowadays, just go to any neighbourhood supermarket and you will find an amazing array of fresh herbs.
That's the Power of the Press for you...

Will the person who keeps dropping dead leaves in front of our restaurants every autumn please remove them. They are NOT herbs!


Zéphyr, said...

Les Méditerranéens ne peuvent pas concevoir une cuisine sans herbes.

La qualité et le dosages des herbes (appelées également plantes aromatiques) relèvent du secret de nos grands-mères et des grands chefs.

Krimo said...

Le savoir-faire! Juste une toute petite pincée peut faire une très grande différence aux plats.
C'est ce qu'un chef acquiert dés sa jeunesse en observant sa mère et grands-mères.

Trac said...

I don't remember Marijuana being very rare in 1985? ;O)

Anonymous said...

best value restaurants in hartlepool we have never been disappointed and return often with friends to sample your excellent food and first class service

Krimo said...

Ooohh... Don't tell me you also inhaled, T?

Thank you, anonymous.
I wish I knew who you were, I'd buy you a drink for cheering me up on this cold, dark Tuesday!

Anonymous said...

J'ai étant très jeune eue une compassion pour les enfants britanniques face à de la purée accompagnée de gelée de menthe !!

Ma Grand-Mère ma dit ,hé oui ! Au Nord de la Loire l'herbe est destinée aux moutons que l'on confond avec les nuages ?

Shepherds, Brora, Breanish ,Donegal...

An Clo Mor?
Mayest thou enjoy it,
Mayest thou wear it,
Mayest thou finish it,
Until thou find it
In shreds,
In rags,
In tatters!

Mais il est possible de faire autre chose avec de l'herbe ,la cuisine !!

Krimo said...

L'on sert toujours de la gelée de menthe avec le rôti d'agneau ...
Comme disait ma mère, "mauvaise herbe ne crève jamais"... tout comme les habitudes.

Queenie said...

If only I'd have know you then, can you remember how many I would have left by your door, (a few more than you have, if my memory serves me well)!!!!

Krimo said...

I detect a tiny bit of smugness, Q...
But yes, of course, I do remember your jungle-sized herb garden with more varieties than Heinz Beans...
You can always post me some of your purple basil...;o)