GIs Helped Bring Freedom To Europe, And A Taste For Oregano To America

May 10, 2015 494

by Nina Martyris

This week marks the 70th anniversary of VE Day, the great Allied victory over Hitler's forces in Europe during World War II. What you may not realize is that the war helped forever change the American palate, as returning GIs brought home a craving for a pungent, fragrant herb they had encountered overseas: oregano.

It's hard to believe that an herb now so ubiquitous was practically unheard of in American cooking before the war. For instance, in How to Cook a Wolf, M.F.K. Fisher's legendary 1942 cookbook on preparing simple meals during a time of privation, oregano gets just one mention: a teaspoon for the Minestrone soup recipe — as an "optional but nice" ingredient.

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