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By: Cathy Christensen
Posted: September 25, 2008, from the October 2008 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.
It's the small things in life that prove to be the most important. I remember several years ago when I had a very, very bad morning and stopped at a fast-food restaurant for a cup of coffee, thinking it would help my mood. When the drive-thru worker handed me the cup with a smile, and said “Have a nice day,” I literally felt I had at least one friend in this cruel world. Little did that worker realize how much her clichéd saying would improve my day.
In a way, thyme does the same thing for dishes and treatments—it’s a pick-me-up that adds a touch of flavor, aroma and depth, improving anything it touches.
In the kitchen
With at least 60 different varieties, thyme is a member of the mint family and is a perennial evergreen shrub with stems covered in small grey-green leaves.1,2 It is an excellent source of iron and manganese and a good source of calcium, as well as a good source of dietary fiber.
Thyme originated in Asia, southern Europe and the Mediterranean region and, historically, the ancient Egyptians used it as an embalming agent to preserve their deceased. It was also burned as incense in ancient Greek temples.1 It was a symbol of courage and admiration, and is a delicious and healthful addition to salads, soups, sauces, vegetables and meat dishes.2
Thyme’s benefits are no secret to spa cuisine chefs. At Gaia Retreat & Spa in Brooklet, Australia, guests can enjoy field mushrooms stuffed with thyme and goat cheese on saffron risotto with a port wine and virgin olive oil reduction; and the Spa Seafood Salad at The Spa at Charleston Place in Charleston, South Carolina, is topped with lemon thyme dressing. At Ojai, California’s Ojai Valley Inn & Spa’s Oak Café, the Green Goddess Romaine Salad with Grilled Baguette, Shaved Parmesan and Micro Thyme can be enjoyed; and a dash of thyme perks up the Tomato and Buffalo Mozzarella Millet Polenta, available at Red Mountain Spa in St. George, Utah. Check out how thyme is incorporated in the Fresh Tuna Salad Nicoise from Executive Chef Terry Conlon of Lake Austin Spa Resort in Austin, Texas.