Ingredient of the Week April 10: Basil
|Basil is most commonly associated with Italian and Thai Cuisine. It's not commonly known that basil originated in India. it was held in great admiration and was actually used in courtrooms to have the Indians swear their oaths upon. It was brought to the Mediterranean via the spice routes in ancient times. Basil spread to other parts of Asia, and became popular in the use of curries in Thailand.|
|In ancient Rome, the name Basilescus, referred to Basilisk - the fire breathing dragon thought to be the charm against the beast. Perhaps the ancient Romans were onto something as today basil is used as an antidote to venom.|
|The Greek word for basil means royal or kingly. It was believed that only the king himself should harvest this herb, and only with the use of a golden sickle. Basil was also used by the Greek and English royalty for their baths, and medicine. Hence why the word basil is still referred to as "the king of herbs" from world-renowned chefs.
In Romania, basil took a more romantic turn. When a man accepts a sprig of basil from a woman,, he is officially engaged. When an Italian suitor wanted to show his love he would place a sprig of basil in his hair to win his hearts desire. It's the same in Mexico where people would keep basil in their pockets in hopes that the man or woman that they loved would return their love forever.
And the Italians became world renowned culinary experts using basil to give unique and erotic flavors to food.
Do you like basil? How do you use it in cooking? Do you grow it?