Garden of aromatic plants
Photos Credit: Salagon Museum
Translator: Jean-Marc Bulit
Mesopotamians used coriander, dill, mint and rue. And there were plenty of aromatic herbs in Roman cookery but only a few spices (pepper, ginger). While medieval cuisine used a lot of spices and few aromatic herbs (though 11 varieties in the garden of the Menagier de Paris). Spices went down and herbs were rediscovered starting in the 17th century (when the bouquet garni was invented).
In 1420, Maître Chiquart only used saffron, marjory, sage, parsley and hysop while, in 1604, Lancelot de Casteau also used anise, basil, chervil, fennec, coriander, laurel and rosemary. Only in the Liber de Coquina and in the Tractatus do we find a lot of local seasoning. The upper classes deemed the oriental spices to be more efficient than the local aromatic plants, the spices of the poor.