The White Hall Willing Workers met recently at the White Hall Public Library.

The White Hall Willing Workers met recently at the White Hall Public Library.

President Cheri Aronowitz welcomed members and guests and opened the meeting with the Extension Homemakers Creed. She read the Thought for the Month: The spice of life – humor. Humor is the shortest distance between two people. She also read the handy hint: Designate spices lose their flavor in six to 12 months. The inspiration for the month was given by Sue Medlock from Proverbs 7:17 – I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon.

Roll call was presented to the question: “Name your favorite spice”.

The program was presented by Aronowitz on “Adding a Little Spice (& Herbs) to Your Life”. Spices and herbs have been used in foods for centuries. Spices were once so costly only the wealthy could afford them. Columbus made the voyage in 1492 to seek a more direct passage to the rich spices of the Orient.

There is a difference between a spice and an herb. Spices come from the bark, root, buds, seeds, berry, or the fruit of tropical plants and trees. Some examples are bark produces cinnamon; roots produce ginger, onion, garlic; buds produce cloves and saffron; seeds produce yellow mustard, poppy, sesame; berries produce black pepper; fruit can produce allspice and paprika. Herbs are leaves of low-growing shrubs. Examples are parsley, chives, marjoram, thyme, basil, caraway, dill, oregano, rosemary, savory, sage and celery leaves.

Spices and herbs can help retain flavor in your foods while cutting back on dietary fat, sugar and sodium/salt. To reduce sugar try using sweet-tasting spices such as allspice, anise, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, mace or nutmeg. You can also reduce or omit salt when cooking by using savory flavors and flavors with “bite”, such as black pepper, garlic powder (not garlic salt), curry powder, cumin, dill seeds, basil, ginger, coriander and onion.

As a general rule you can keep herbs or ground spices for one year; whole spices may be kept for two years. If a spice or herb smells strong and flavorful, it is probably still potent. You can check an herb or ground spice by rubbing a small amount in your hand – if the aroma is fresh, rich and immediate, it can still flavor foods. You can check a whole spice – such as a clove or cinnamon stick – by breaking, crushing or scraping it before smelling it.

During the business segment of the meeting the following reports were given:

Community Service: Peggie Barbaree reported that the opening of the Farmer’s Market went well. There was a Jefferson County Extension booth and it was manned by all the county clubs taking a shift. There were a lot of people in attendance and many wonderful vegetables for sale. Barbaree is working on dolls, cross necklaces and suggested that the group might want to put some of the cross necklaces in the chemo area at the Cancer Institute.

Leadership: Patsy Johnson reported that I-530 is undergoing construction and suggested driving the old highway to Little Rock.

Education: Jo Ann Carr reported on the apron and casserole carrier workshop. There were three members in attendance. Christmas in July will be held July 26 at the Extension Office from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Members are asked to bring finger foods and recipes for the Holiday Foods cookbook. A Fellowship Tour to the Arts and Science Center in Pine Bluff to see the play “Hairspray” will be on July 27 at 7 p.m. The EHC picnic will be held on August 4 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Centennial Fellowship Church. This will be a picnic-style potluck with drinks, bread and eating supplies provided. A tour to the Rice Expo in Stuttgart is planned for Aug. 3 at 9 a.m. The group will leave from the Extension Office around 8 a.m. A county craft workshop will be held Aug. 30 from 9 a.m. to noon at the Extension Office and the club will make a folding scrapbook.

Catherine Atkinson reported that the decorations on the wreaths at White Hall Nursing Home would be done with a July 4th Independence Day motif.

The birthday dinner will be held at Chef Lee on July 28.

A health fair will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Aug. 2 at Regional Park Fallis Waterfront Facility.

Other members present were Patsy Glover, Patsy Johnson and Marnette Reed.

Guests present included Shannon Keele, Haley Blevins, Karen Needler and Francis Kelly and special guest, Mary Ann Kizer, county Extension agent-family and consumer sciences.

Refreshments were provided by Aronowitz and Atkinson.

Those interested in learning more about Extension Homemakers, should call any member or the Extension Office at 870-534-1033.