"Better is a dinner of herbs where love is..." ~ Jane Eyre
There is only so much holiday music I can stand listening to, so at the moment I have my Simon and Garfunkel cd in my car, and Scarborough Fair has constantly been on repeat these past few days as I drive along.
Although I have heard this song as a child, I didn't know it was a canticle from medieval times until I was in college. My advisor, Dr. Ward, was a Medievalist who taught the best Chaucer class ever, and I sat with her once on her office hours discussing this very topic. I also didn't realize that parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme were such poignant symbols until I read Hamlet in high school. Who can forget the scene when Ophelia is carrying rosemary for remembrance? It is heartbreaking.
The song is also heartbreaking...or is it? The canticle is about past lovers who were jilted and sing a duet together, telling one another they will be true lovers again if they can perform impossible tasks for one another. Then again, perhaps it is not so heartbreaking. Perhaps, if one has faith in love, these impossible tasks can be done. I would like to believe so. I really would. I must assert that I speak in general in this moment, not referencing any specific events or persons in my life: Since both lovers allude to the herbs, I think they also believe that they can overcome the impossible as well, taking the bitterness away, remembering the good times of the past, and finding strength and courage to overcome other obstacles in the way.
Parsley takes away bitterness
Sage symbolizes strength
Rosemary symbolizes remembrance
Thyme symbolizes courage
What warms my heart is anytime I cook a dish with these four herbs. I am more of a fan of dried parsley, but I love all of the other herbs fresh. I do believe in aromatherapy, and the pleasure of cooking is heightened even more as I smell these herbs when I prepare a meal. I made this dish, Simple Roasted Chicken with Truffle Oil Drizzle, recently and the rosemary and thyme are really what makes it so delicious. The truffle oil also makes it quite aromatic; I purchase mine at a specialty Italian food store. It is perfect for a holiday or for a cold winter's Sunday evening.
1 (3 1/2-pound) chicken
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves, stems reserved
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves, stems reserved
2 large onions, thickly sliced
2 medium carrots, peeled
2 ribs celery, ends trimmed
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 teaspoons to 1 tablespoon truffle oil, to drizzle, optional
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Rinse the chicken well inside and out with water and pat dry with paper towels. Rub the chicken all over with the olive oil and season inside and out with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the thyme and rosemary all over the chicken and place the reserved stems inside the chicken cavity. Arrange the onion slices, carrots, celery and bay leaf in the bottom of a small roasting pan in such a way as to make a bed for the chicken to lie on. Place the chicken on the bed of vegetables, breast side up, and roast in the oven until the skin is golden brown, 30 to 45 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees F and continue to roast until the chicken is cooked through and the juices run clear, 30 to 45 minutes longer.
Remove the chicken from the oven and set aside to rest for 10 minutes before carving.
When ready to serve the chicken, carve into 8 pieces and serve, drizzled with truffle oil to taste. Garnish with fresh herb sprigs.
Reader, welcome to my life.
- Name: ThursdayNext
- Location: New York, United States