The Thyme Space Continuum

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By Heidi Lewis

Dateline, Oxford Lecture Hall; Stephen Hawking presenting:

“Quantum theory introduces a new idea, that of imaginary time. One can picture it in the following way. One can think of ordinary, real time as a horizontal line. On the left, one has the past, and on the right, the future. But there’s another kind of time in the vertical direction. This is called imaginary time because it’s not the kind of time we normally experience. But in a sense, it is just as real, as what we call real time.”


“Yes, you there in the green jumper. Question?”

“Yes, sir—what about A Brief History of Thyme?”

“Oh, good question. Thyme as we know it is an ancient herb—and quite brilliant really. It’s a Mediterranean plant of the mint family but has adapted to colder climes. It’s both culinary and medicinal and, like mint, comes in hundreds of varieties—lemon thyme, caraway thyme, English, lavender, et cetera.”

“Sir? When is a good time to use thyme?”

“It is quite flavorful and really stands up in heavy sauces, such as pasta sauce. But it’s also very complimentary in the triumvirate bouquet garni—a few sprigs of thyme, sage, and bay tied together or put in a sachet and dangled in broth adds real dimension to your soup. Likewise, its oil has antifungal properties and its tea is good for calming coughs—like for you there in the back row with the bronchitis.”

“Professor? Can thyme be dried?”

“Certainly. Hang the stems in a dry warm place, or place in a paper bag for a few days. Strip leaves and store in container. Airtight is fine; it needn’t be a vacuum.”

“Sir? Could you sing the song that goes  Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme?”

“Please, I’m a genius, not a jukebox. Next question?”


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