JIMCHEVAL at aol.com
JIMCHEVAL at aol.com
Fri Jan 11 10:18:31 PST 2013
Since I'm going to guess neither of us is a connoisseur of soap, there's
wide room for disagreement here. But the more precise (if difficult to find)
version of spikenard is often used in perfume, so the general odor is more
associated today with cosmetics than edibles:
"Spikenard (Nardostachys jatamansi); also called nard, nardin, and
muskroot is a flowering plant of the Valerian family that grows in the Himalayas
of Nepal, China, and India. The plant grows to about 1 m in height and has
pink, bell-shaped flowers. It is found in the altitude of about 3000–5000
meters. Spikenard rhizomes (underground stems) can be crushed and distilled
into an intensely aromatic amber-colored essential oil, which is very thick
in consistency. Nard oil is used as a perfume, an incense, a sedative, and
an herbal medicine said to fight insomnia, birth difficulties, and other
It's been a while since I've done this research, but as I recall in Gaul
Gallic nard (hence, valerian) was more used than the real article.
Otherwise, it's worth noting that some gloss "espic" (probably spikenard)
as lavender as well.
It doesn't help that nard was often paired with costus, which (via its
Chinese equivalent) I find to taste like dirt (think ginseng). Yet both were
once immensely prized.
I agree that cilantro is soapish as well; less so ginger, which I love.
Cilantro is a curious herb/spice, not only because it's equally central to
both Mexican and Thai cuisine, but because its leaves have a very different
flavor from its seeds (coriander). For our period, it can also be
treacherous, since when Anthimus, for instance, refers to it you have to consider
whether he means the leaf or the seed (which to us would be two distinct
Newly translated from Pierre Jean-Baptiste Le Grand d'Aussy:
Catholic Fasting in France: From the Franks to the Eighteenth Century
In a message dated 1/11/2013 2:19:48 A.M. Pacific Standard Time,
otsisto at socket.net writes:
Really, my experience with Valerian is that it tastes like the smell of
dirty socks. Cilantro and ginger tastes closer to soap to me.
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