Saturday, November 22, 2008
Pearlfleur Passport: Got Sage ?
For those who are cooking the traditional Thanksgiving dinner this year, chances are you are digging around the cupboard to try to find that little tin box of the herb sage so you can put a pinch in the turkey and dressing. Just a pinch, mind you, Good cooks know that too much sage transforms its woodsy, minty flavor to a bitter musty tang.
Sage has been part of the human story for many years, and not just for turkey and dressing. It has a long tradition in herbal medicine, as well as in the kitchen. In medieval times the French called the herb "toute bonne," which means "all is good." It has been used to treat a wide variety of illnesses from sore throats to snakebites. Some herbalists even say that a combination of sage with other herbs may slow the development of diseases like Alzheimer’s. That is an interesting claim, since the word sage also means "a person who is wise" or who has "sound judgment."
The sage plant is lovely, with blooms that form a spire over gray-green leaves. Okay, it is nice to look at, but our only interaction with sage thus far has been pretty limited. We shove those leaves into the carcass of the turkey, place them around the bird on the serving platter (presentation makes any old dry turkey better); throw a dash of sage in the dressing, and then put the rest back on the shelf until next year. When we meet up with sage this way each November, it seems to be an insignificant herb.
But if we think about it from a different angle, sage is anything but insignificant. There is a saying that originated during the Middle Ages about sage that makes an important point for this special November holiday:
"Why should a person die, when sage grows in his garden?"
That tells us that our "sage" doesn’t come in a little tin box, but from within. Our personal sage is not insignificant at all. It is sharp and savory. If we use it wisely (with "sound judgment’) our presentation will be stunning. Those folks of years ago had it right. Keep your sparkle. You got sage !
Please leave a comment.
We would love to read your best – funniest – most inspiring – craziest – Thanksgiving memory.
this is bailey. i am a pocket mouse.
my best thanksgiving memory is punkin pie!
apple is yummy, too.
when people are asleep, i love to type, type, type.
bye for now,