One of the best things about summer is having time to do nothing in particular, like staging a still-life in the kitchen. This morning, a scorcher already by 8 a.m., I went out to cut some flowers for poor sick newlywed Julie. The garden still looked fresh and happy and the thyme was bushy and perky. I have lots of thyme this year, enough to snip big handfuls to bring inside. So I wandered the garden, cutting flowers for Julie, filling bud vases for the powder room, and harvesting thyme.
Thyme is an easy herb to dry. It can be hung upside-down on my herb line in the pantry, but I really like to plop a fistful in a pot and leave it there. At first, fresh from the garden, it looks like a potted herb, but it will dry right there in the pot and be ready use in cooking. Unlike a potted plant, it can sit in a dark corner of the kitchen and still look cute even after it has dried.
Sitting near where the cooking happens, the thyme reminds me to throw some in soups or on chicken. I love putting it in chicken salad. Actually, I really like to use it fresh in chicken salad. Dried, it becomes an essential ingredient in making Herbes de Provence, an herb blend of parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, and oregano. I’ll play with that at the end of the season when I survey my bounty of dried herbs.
(Here’s a question for all the grammar queens out there…what is the plural of still-life? Still-lives? That just looks weird.)