Parsley as garnish - where did it come from?

Joined Apr 19, 2001
Hubbie and I were watching Sara Moulton last night, and she used the ubiquitous parsley garnish. Hubbie said he'd read somewhere that the use of parsley as a garnish originated in the Middle Ages, when there were 'tasters' for the king's dishes. If the taster ate the dish and it passed inspection (ie, the taster didn't die!), a piece of parsley was laid on top of the dish to signify to the king that all was okay with the food.

Anyone ever heard of this?
Joined Aug 29, 2000
I hadn't heard that, but I once read that parsley can freshen breath. That may explain why it's usually put on savory dishes, and not often on sweets.
Joined Jul 24, 2001
I haven't heard about that Marmalady and I haven't found anything similar to every book I have checked.
Parsley was used in cooking earlier than the middle ages. Greeks were using parsley a lot and Romans thought that parsley could prevent intoxication.
This last theory matches a bit with the one your husband read.

Just for the record, in Greek there is an expression that someone is ... parsley and it means that appears everywhere and it has an opinion about everything. Just like parsley can decorate everydish :)
Joined Jul 31, 2000
Parsley is an umbelliferous plant native to the east meditereanean. (Linnaes believed it's origin was in sardinia) and related to celery.

The ancient Greeks used the name Selinon for both parsly and celery.

According the Pliny the Elder the romans held parsly in high esteem.

I wrote a while back somewhere that if you plant parsly near your roses it improves there health and there sent :)
Joined Sep 21, 2001
Have you ever heard the quote "feeling your parsley"? I heard that it was an old (ancient) Roman saying....It applied to the fact that horses were fed parsley. The newer version is "feeling your oats".
Joined May 14, 2001
I believe that parsley is not only a breath freshener but is also a digestive aid, thus its practicality as a garnish.

Latest posts

Top Bottom