The Herb Puzzle

I am thankful that God  gave us taste buds. I’m also glad He gave us good-tasting things to eat–and herbs can make them taste even better!

My family did not use herbs very much when I was a child, at home, so I’ve had to learn this art from talking with others through the years. Here are some of the questions I asked and the  discoveries  I made.

1. Do I have to use pork in my soup beans to make them taste good?  After all, the less pork you eat the better.

2. What did you put in this stew? Mine always tastes so bland!

3. Can canned green beans taste good without adding oil or butter?

The answers, I’ve found, to each one of these questions involves using the right herbs and spices.

1) When Esther (now age 23) was three months old I found myself in the “nursing mothers’ lounge” in Knoxville while Don and I were attending the home school seminar. I asked one of the ladies, who was Whole Bay Leavesalso there in the lounge, question number one, and this was her reply: “bay leaf”. She was right! After experimenting a bit, I discovered a very delicious recipe. This recipe is for one pound of dry beans (all kinds of dry beans will work).

Let beans soak overnight. Add one teaspoon of salt, one teaspoon of bouillon, 1 bay leaf, 1/2 cup of onion, and one clove of garlic (minced). Cook until desired softness. We have soft water so they are done after about `1 1/2  hours. Harder water will take 2 1/2 hours.

2) At a covered dish dinner, I tasted the best beef, potatoes, carrots, and onion I had ever eaten. I asked the one who brought it what herbs she used, and she said. “My brother actually made this, but I think he used  ‘rosemary’.” What a revelation! After experimenting a bit, I came up with this recipe for two pounds of stew meat,  two pounds of Rosemary!potatoes, one cup of onion, and three carrots. Add  1/2 teaspoon of rosemary (don’t overdo it–you can get too much!), one bay leaf, one clove of minced garlic, one teaspoon of bouillon, salt & pepper to taste.

3) This one is the best yet. Once, While waiting on our children, another mother and I were talking about menus. I asked her what she liked to fix, and she told me about adding Cajun spice to her green beans! After Cajun SeasoningI warm  up the can of beans, I pour off the water, sprinkle on the Cajun spice, stir it up, and serve. You will have to experiment to see how much you like. I use quite a bit. Cajun tastes great on beans fresh out of the garden too.

One more little tip. If you grow your own herbs, they will usually dry just fine if picked and left on the counter for a few days. Just put them in a glass jar and keep them all winter. I found this out after accidentally leaving some raspberry leaves (for tea) in the car one summer.


  1. Crystal October 12, 2009 at 3:04 pm #

    Thanks for the tips! I will have to try bay leaves in beans some time.
    If you freeze the broth after cooking a roast or chicken you can use that in place of bouillon.

  2. Joshua October 13, 2009 at 4:18 pm #

    Hmmmm – thank you for the tasty tips straight from the Staddon kitchen! I’ll have to send some of my other favorite cooks this way.

  3. Esther Staddon October 14, 2009 at 5:18 pm #

    Knowing what herbs and spices to use is a weak point in my cooking abilities for sure! Thanks for the tips, Mom, and for the effort you put into making our meals the best! I miss your cooking!!!!!


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