Miss Pelican's Perch

Looking at my World from a Different Place


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A Little Diversion

Every once in a while, as it diversion, I like to engage in a self-education project.  This time I am doing a study on herbs and herbalism. I am engaging in this study through universalclass.com which I access for free through my local library (otherwise one must pay). My first assignment was to write at least 250 words where I define “herbs” and provide a brief history of herbalism. Not to brag– oh, who am I kidding? I’m bragging– the instructor gave me 100% on the assignment.  Here is the essay:

A Brief History of Herb Usage

An herb, in culinary usage, is comprised of the green leaves of any non-woody plant. Other parts of the plant would be classified as spices. For example, the leaves of a coriander (cilantro) plant would be is an herb while the seed of the coriander plant would be a spice. However, the definition of an herb for medical uses is much broader, with an herb being any part of any type of plant used as a medical application.

The use of herbs for both cooking and medicinal applications goes as far back as the Upper-Paleolithic period. Though the lesson article states that the use of herbs for healing was derived through much trial and error, my personal opinion is that humans were far more intuitive in prehistoric times and probably “knew” — perhaps through observing animals’ interaction with herbs– what plants were safe and how they might be effective.

A large body of information on herbal healing was gathered and transmitted by the ancient cultures of the middle-east, Mediterranean, and north Africa regions. The Greeks created a large body of knowledge which they passed on to the Arabs in the middle ages. Europeans developed their own herb-knowledge which was kept primarily by the clergy, but also by the wise women of the land. European herbs and healing traditions were brought to North and South America where they took hold and mingled with indigenous traditions.

Herb-craft fell by the wayside after the Renaissance and Enlightenment periods. And today there is much criticism from the Western medical establishment of the use of herbal remedies. Though the stated intention of such criticism and the regulation by governments of herbal supplements and remedies is to protect the consumer, it also serves to withhold other viable solutions to various health conditions.

I, myself, take herbal supplements prescribed by a Traditional Chinese medical practitioner. These supplements are based on centuries-old, tried-and-true formulae which I can attest have helped me. TCM has become mainstream along with its Indian counterpart, the Ayurvedic tradition. Given that access to quality standard health care is not affordable by many people, returning to the ancient tradition of herbal healing may be the answer.

Ljgloyd 2018

Postscript: Today’s Daily Post prompt, Tantrum, has absolutely nothing to do with this article. Sometimes I’m inspired on my own.

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Cheese Omlettes Three Times a Day?

Look, there is no way I will ever be a vegan. I don’t have the inner wherewithal to choose a turkey-shaped piece of tofu over a half rack of St. Louis babybacks from the BBQ pit down the street.

Yes, I know that eating a plant-based diet is ultimately more healthful and better for the environment than being a junk-food eating omnivore. I could be a lacto-ovo vegetarian if I could have cheese omelettes three times a day, but I think my primary care physician, “She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed’, would, herself, have a coronary if I did that and told her.

A number of years ago I tried being a vegan, but it only lasted a few weeks before I backslid into a grand slam breakfast at a local greasy spoon.

But I am a little older now, and a little more concerned about my health, so I am attempting, once again, to eat a more plant-heavy diet, with more greens and beans and a bit less animal protein.

To that end, I did my weekly grocery shopping today and I made a huge haul of fresh veggies, beans, fruits, and some highly-reviewed meat-free products. In the past I’ve never cared much for those products made from textured vegetable protein. When these products first came on the market they tasted more like textured cardboard. This is not the case anymore. There are some really tasty offerings now.

For example, this evening I made for supper an egg-white omelette filled with vegetables, an arugula salad, and a meatless breakfast patty (Gardien brand).

The patty looked like a piece of sausage, smelled like it, and had that wonderfully sagey, peppery taste of breakfast sausage. It even oozed out grease onto the plate like a real piece of sausage.

But, like I said, I will never fully convert. Today I had meatless sausage. Tomorrow, I may have a real cheeseburger and fries.

Everything in moderation. Moo!

 

ljgloyd 2018.   No, I’m not being paid to endorse this brand.  I’m just a consumer that likes their product.


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Appeasing the Muse


I have said it before: this is not a food blog. I’m write mostly about the creative process. But since my writing has been a little static for a few days, I thought I would take a little break from that and be creative in the kitchen.

What do you do with a couple of ancient squash?  OK, they’re only two months old, but for produce that’s a long time.   I roasted them, gutted them, paired them with an equally ancient pair of apples, an onion, and various spices and other seasonings. After pouring it all into a casserole, I glued it all together with big fistfuls of fontina and mozzarella.

Many times when I get loose in the kitchen, the end result is a disaster. Not so this time. It turned out quite tasty.

Who knew that one could overcome writer’s block by appeasing the Muse with mounds of hot, gooey cheese?  She’s easy that way.

Ljgloyd 2018


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Huevos Rancheros, My Way

I love it when the Daily Post offers up food-related prompts. Serandipitously, I made Huevos Rancheros to brighten my gray and rainy Sunday morning.

There are many ways to make this dish.  My way is to crisp up a corn tortilla in a bit of hot oil and then layer it with refried pinto beans, eggs cooked sunny side up, salsa, a sprinkle of cheese, and a dollop of crema mexicana.

Oh yeah.   My eggs rocked this morning.

Ljg 2017