Meet the author
Who: Kami McBride, author of “The Herbal Kitchen,” presenting her book and serving teas and hors d’oeuvres made with her recipes
When: 7:30 to 9 p.m. Friday
Where: The Avid Reader, 617 Second St. in downtown Davis
Info: (530) 758-4040
Kami McBride wants people to peek inside their spice cabinets and imagine using the herbs they already have on hand in fresh, new ways.
McBride, author of the recipe book “The Herbal Kitchen,” says even the most basic of spices — think, salt and pepper — have healing properties that can enhance everyday health and well-being. She encourages using them more frequently and creatively in food, drinks and baths.
Her book is a collection of easy and inexpensive recipes for herb oils, pestos, marinades, iced teas, lemonades and relaxing bath salts.
One sunny morning last week, McBride, whose family was one of the town’s early settlers, demonstrated how to make a rosemary-sage oil in the kitchen of her Davis home. She took sprigs of dried rosemary and sage, put them in a clean glass bottle with some olive oil and gave it a vigorous shake.
“All the basic culinary herbs like sage, rosemary, thyme, basil — things that everybody already knows and loves — you can dry them and turn them into an oil,” McBride said. “Then you use that oil in your cooking, so you use it in your marinades and your salad dressings and sprinkling on steamed vegetables. So, now you don’t just use regular olive oil, you’ve got an herbed oil.”
McBride buys dried herbs as well as dries her own using plants from her garden. Either way, she said, the herbs are effective.
While herbs do not replace pharmaceutical drugs for the treatment of severe illnesses, they have long been used in all cultures as digestive aids and to relieve ailments such as headaches, upset stomachs and the common cold, McBride said.
People sprinkle black pepper on clam chowder and other creamy soups because it helps them digest the dairy components. Indian restaurants offer customers fennel seeds after their meal, also for digestion, and there are plenty of other examples.
“Have you ever had turkey at Thanksgiving?” McBride said. “What do people stuff their turkey with? Sage, right? It’s not just for flavor; it’s because the sage helps you to digest the turkey and the fat in the turkey.”
Her 6-year-old son, Gabriel, picks his own rose petals for his bath and grates fresh nutmeg for his pancakes. The family’s cat, Snowy, likes to munch on the sour grass that grows in the garden.
McBride became interested in herbal remedies as a teenager when a good friend fell ill from using a pharmaceutical drug. She has studied and taught classes in herbal medicine for 23 years. She continues to teach in Davis and the greater Sacramento area.
— Reach Crystal Lee at [email protected] or (530) 747-8057.