In the giving thanks thread (http://www.cheftalk.com/forum/thread/63097/giving-thanks) I made reference to a situation with oregano. Several have PMed me for details. I won't go into exactly what happened, except to say that a participant on another site maintained that oregano is an Italo/American thing, that oregano is never used in real Italian food; and, by extension, is not really a part of Mediterannian cuisine.
Putting aside the sheer nonsense of such a statement, I got to be thinking about herbs and national identities. While fresh herbs are an integral part of most cuisines, seems to me there are particular herbs we identify with certain cuisines. I thought it might be fun to see what pairings we can come up with. I'm not looking for a "what herbs are found in X cuisine," lists, so much as "What one herb do you most associate with X." In other words, if you took that one herb away, would the cuisine in question be recognizable as such?
Off the top of my head I've come up with:
Thailand: Lemon grass.
Israel: Hyssop (i.e., za'taar).
United States: Parsley.
I thought France would be easy. Initially I told myself tarragon. But then thought, no, it's lavender, or maybe marjoram, or.....well, just proves, again, that I don't know all that much about French food.
Anyone else got others? Or care to dispute my choices?