Friday, March 4, 2022

HELLO OREGANO! Excerpt from The Healing Powers of Herbs and Spices (#9 Book)

 By Cal Orey

Excerpt from Mother Earth News (Mar/Apr 2022)

Oregano (Origanum vulgare) has graced many dishes served in my home, both past and present. My dad, a widower in his 70s, once planned a home-cooked fish dinner with his new girlfriend and me as a grad school gift. I planned the movies, and she brought the food. I was surprised that her cooking included oregano – just like my mom’s cooking had. She served lobster oreganata, which is a split lobster topped with breadcrumbs and seasoned with oregano. It was a night of comfort, bringing back memories of my childhood. The familiar oregano aroma and flavor reconnected me to my mom’s spirit and bonded me and my new surrogate mom. Wow, if I make a semi-homemade pizza or any Italian dish, I often use either dried or fresh oregano. The plant nourishes my body, but it also feeds my heart and soul, because it connects me to my dad and two mothers, who both fancied the art of cooking with herbs.

Oregano Herbal History

pizza with tomatoes and fresh oregano
Image by Adobestock/Eugeniusz Dudziński

Oregano is a plant species in the Lamiaceae family. It grows throughout most of the world, but it likely originated in the Mediterranean. Since the herb grew in the mountains, Greek people called it “mountain joy.” According to mythology, the Greek goddess Aphrodite cultivated oregano in her garden on top of Mount Olympus, and the herb was believed to bring about blessings of happiness. Oregano didn’t become a popular culinary herb in North American cooking until the end of World War II, when soldiers returned to the United States after eating Italian food in Europe. In the ’50s and ’60s, I recall my family sprinkling it in spaghetti, ravioli, soups, and stews to give the dishes that flavorful panache.

Cal Orey is the author of The Healing Powers book series. This is excerpted from her book The Healing Powers of Herbs and Spices (Kensington Books). Printed in Mother Earth News.

  • Updated on Feb 28, 2022
  • Originally Published on Feb 24, 2022

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