We're in our tenth year and proud of it! The Herb Companion staff is celebrating all year by paging through our past, remembering the good times, laughing at our mistakes, and sharing some highlights from the many writers, gardeners, craftspeople, and artists with whom we’ve worked over the years.
In every issue, starting with the first one in October 1988, our food pages have featured the striking studio photography of Joe Coca. Our photo sessions are always fun because we photograph real food—no tricks, just good food fixed the way you’d fix it at home. We know our recipes are excellent because after the last shot is done, we eat.
For the August/September 1996 issue, we were doing the photography for a story by Theresa Loe on herbal ice cream. It was luscious stuff, and we sampled it a number of times as Joe and his assistant, Lisa Rabold, worked on a photograph of three ice cream cones. For hour after hour after hour, they tinkered with the setup and played with the floral background and subtle lighting to get it exactly right.
It took us a few hours to notice that the ice cream wasn’t melting. Joe finally had to admit that he and Lisa had substituted canned vanilla frosting for the cream in the recipe (while giving us the real stuff to sample). The result was unmeltable ice cream.
“During the Middle Ages, spiced and seasoned food was a status symbol, a delight to the palate, a celebration of God’s abundance, a means of honoring visiting dignitaries and beloved friends. As we moderns bring out our best white wine or our most delectable paté, so did our medieval ancestors serve forth the capon with pomegranate sauce or the jellied eels in aspic.”
—Robbie L. Cranch, “Herbs for a Medieval Feast”, December 1990/ January 1991
A Way with Flowers
The dramatic watercolor of poppies on this issue of The Herb Companion was done by Karmen Effenberger-Thompson, of Lake Oswego, Oregon. Karmen has done four other covers for us, starting with the December 1988/January 1989 issue. The one shown here, a bouquet of herbs and flowers mentioned in Shakespeare’s works, graced the April/May 1995 cover.
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