Culinary Herbs Trends
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Laurel Keser
Posted on: April 26, 2001

I’m working on a proposal for my second herb cookbook. Can you give a perspective on the popularity of herbs--particularly culinary herbs? Are you seeing increased sales or increases in the numbers of people coming out for culinary programs or the number of questions about culinary herbs--anything that will help convince a publisher that there is room for another herb cookbook. Are your customers showing interest in some of the less common herbs rather than just the basils, rosemarys and oreganos?

Laurel Keser, author of the award-winning My Favorite Herb: How North America’s Great Chefs Savor the Flavor of Herbs (Callawind, 1999)

Over the last five years of the 1990s medicinal herbs attracted the lion’s share of interest among our customers. Now interest seems to be swinging back to culinary and aromatic herbs, especially the new varieties of those with ornamental value. Certainly, interest in ethnic herbs is strong and is getting stronger. We find that the public is much more adventurous now and willing to try exotic herbs they have never heard of before. The introduction of the south Indian herb, curry leaf (Murraya koenigii) in 2001 is an example. It has been an immediate success for us. Another example is basil: customer no longer want the basic "sweet basil" but want to try all the new varieties such as "Sweet Salad(tm)" and "Ararat" and the many others.

One problem is that few of these new varieties and ethnic herbs are mentioned in books. A cookbook that includes these would be welcome.

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