Sunday, 2 January 2011

Hoarhound and raw rolled oats

I always remember Warrington Taylor over the Christmas and New Year period as I spent 4 wonderful Christmas holidays with he and his wife Catherine at Karitane, that beautiful seaside town in Otago.

From 1962 to about 1966, his son Brian who coached me at athletics, would run an athletics training camp at the Tayor’s batch or crib at Karitane. See Brian's photo of Karitane below.

About five of us would camp in a big tent on the lawn and Mrs. Taylor would cook us great food as we trained at least two times a day. More than anything, Mrs. Taylor gave us raw rolled oats for breakfast and a bitter herbal tea called hoarhound, The raw rolled oats were she told me once, was to develope our saliava glands and the hoar hound was good for our blood. It wasn’t until many years later that I read it was greatr for clearing up congestion..

Warrington would always be interested in our running and especially our training on the track. He would often be our time keeper and shout out the lap times as we ran past the 440 yards post as we did lap after lap. Or when we were doing 20 or 24 miles which was quite common, he would follow us in the car.

He always wore a sports jackets as I am sure it was because of the large number of pockets he had. His pockets were full of useful things such as pens, paper, cardboard, keys, string, safety pins and many other items. Mr. Taylor was often able to do a repair job on a running shoes with things he kept in his pocket, or in the boot of the car. A resourceful man who could fix anything.
I dearly loved this man for his knowledge, wisdom, experience and above all, his belief in humankind.

Catherine Taylor was also an amzing lady, and it was hard to pull a fast one over her. One day I was cooking toast and burnt a few pieces.  From her bed room closeby she heard me scraping the burnt toast and called out, " Have you burnt the toast," and I replied, "no Mrs. Taylor, I am just scraping mud off my running shoes." When I turned the toast to scrape the other side I said, "and now for the other shoe."  Brian told me many years later that his Mum found that really funny.
So every Christmas and New Year, I remember Warrington and Catherine Taylor and thank them for what they did for me.

Further reading on Hoarhound. While the majority of teas, herbal and otherwise, are indeed a source of comfort, there are certain ones which are especially suited to clearing up congestion. One, in particular, is horehound tea, or Marrubium vulgare.

As to how horehound received its unusual name, Marie Nadine Antol explains in her book, Healing Teas, that Greek physicians used to prescribe this ancient herb to their patients who had been bitten by a rabid, or mad, dog, or "hoar hound" hence the "hound" portion of its common name today. Hoar comes from the Old English meaning, grey, grey-haired, or old. Therefore, horehound really means "old dog!"

The Latin name is believed by experts to be derived from the Hebrew word marrob, which means "bitter juice." The herb is also thought to be one of the five bitter herbs eaten by Jewish people at Passover