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Hey Herb, thanks for the 'erbs

Norwalk Reflector Staff • Oct 29, 2015 at 12:47 PM

Last weekend, my dad and I spent some time at the Herb Fair. Neither of us are named Herb, but I thought it might be interesting anyway. A lot of people go to that big "twin" festival in Twinsburg who aren't twins, so why not try something new.

There was a young boy collecting the $5 entrance fee as we entered the parking lot. So I asked him, "So Herb, how many Herbs are you expecting to be here today?" He said, "They're all here!" Turning to my father I said smugly, "Well Dad, I guess it's a good thing I made us these name tags then, isn't' it?"

Then Herb, the entrance fee collector, handed us a map of the grounds and a little pink slip of paper: "Good for One Free Herb." A free Herb, eh? What a novel idea. I hurried to get inside before all the good Herbs were taken. My riding mower is broken and I wanted to find one with some mechanical skills.

As I popped out of the car, I detected the distinct scent of Old Spice. "Must be the Official Cologne Sponsor of the Herb Festival," I reasoned. It was the obvious choice. That or Aqua Velva. There's just something about an Aqua Velva man...

I grabbed the festival map from my dad so we could go directly to the Free Herb distribution area, but what do I see? Herb gardens, herb greenhouses, herbal healing seminars, herbal cuisine, herbal culture and strangely, two men dressed in medieval warrior costumes fighting with sticks in the courtyard. Turns out Old Spice wasn't the official cologne of anything. I was smelling gardens of lavender and Rosmarinus Officinalis.

Well, that's different then. I can see why they say English is the most difficult language to master. I immediately stopped saying, "Hello Herb" to every man I passed and began to get into 'erbs. (I'm dropping the "H" in protest. Come, join me in my rebellion.)

I must say, though, it was a beautiful fair. My dad and I sat in on a seminar discussing the many uses of 'erbs in the kitchen. Apparently, I could be feeding my family lovely little hors d'oeuvres made out of cream cheese and the very day lilies I have growing in my yard. Another interesting idea involved lining a cake pan with lemon geranium leaves. It seems geraniums come in several different flavors. Who knew?

Anyway, as I recall, the speaker said to line the cake pan with the geranium leaves, dust them with powdered sugar and pour in white cake batter. When the cake is done, you flip it out of the pan so it's upside down, dust it with powdered sugar again and pull off the leaves. It's supposed to leave perfect leaf imprints and flavor the cake ever so subtly. If I had any lemon geranium leaves, I'd give it a try. Do geraniums come in chocolate?

Next we walked around the fair. There was a wine tasting booth, a very popular German food tent and lots of vendors and crafters selling everything from jewelry to goatskin drums. I mentioned the medieval fighters earlier. They were demonstrating ye ole battle techniques. Dad and I had a cup of 'erbal lemonade and watched two grown men whack each other with clubs for several minutes. Then one of them presented some information on the warfare of the period and explained the rules of the "sport" as it's practiced today. I think his name was Herb.

Before we left, I bought some homemade 'erbal soaps that smell absolutely fabulous and a stick of all natural deodorant, which, as it turns out, smells just like Old Spice. Finally, we took our "Free Herb" ticket to one of the greenhouses where we could choose from among dozens and dozens of fragrant plants. Entrance Herb was right. I think every 'erb known to man was in there. I came away with Salvia Greggii, better known as Wild Thing Sage. I named it Herb, but alas, he's no mechanic.

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