Feb 13, 2018 7

Who Is Bottled Thyme?

 The air was gradually warming as the crispness of the September morning was transforming into the beautiful late summer day that had been forecasted. Heather and Michael Van Houten were strolling through the the Malvern Farmers Market for their first time. The soon to be married couple had recently moved from Philadelphia to be closer to Heather’s family. Up to this point, Michael had spent just about twenty years working in kitchens, and really loved to cook. He also knew the restaurant industry was a hard place to raise a family in and children were definitely a part of their future. There was something about the energy and excitement that came with working on the line; a busy night in the kitchen was an adrenalin filled good time to him. There was a certain passion in Michael when it came to food, and he knew that he could somehow find a way to continue working with food outside of restaurants.

Even on his days off, you couldn’t keep Michael out of the kitchen. The couple thought it was important to share a meal each day, but with work and other activities keeping them busy, this didn’t always happen. Michael made it a point to have a special meal on at least one of their days off. He would take advantage of these opportunities to either use new ingredients, or experiment with various recipes he was working on. Much of his time was usually spent making the sauce, which Heather loved and thought it was well worth his time making it. As they were making their way through the market, discussing their future as a married couple, Heather jokingly asked why he couldn’t make larger batches of his sauces? Why couldn’t they sell them at farmer’s markets like the one they were at?

After much further discussion on the topic, even more research and a lot of planning, Bottled Thyme was born. Michael felt that people shouldn’t have to forgo on the fine dining quality of a meal just because they eat at home. He wants people to enjoy a meal at home that afterwards they felt like they had just dined at the trendiest café in town. Thyme to bring fine dining home is more than just a slogan for them, it was a goal; they aim to bring back family dinner. Both had grown up with the routine of family dinner that usually consisted of a home cooked meal and a time to spend sharing the events of their day with loved ones.

The craft of sauce making can be dated back to early in the Roman Empire. Some historians have suggested that the concept of using sauces was to cover up the debatable freshness and quality of the food being served. Cooks of the time would haphazardly put together sauces, with it more of an after thought to the meal. It was common practice of Roman kitchens to add so many ingredients into the sauce that the guests dining could not name one single flavor. Fortunately, the purpose of sauces has shifted to enhancing the delicate nuances of our meals. Sauce Robert can be attributed with being one of the first written recipes for a sauce whose purpose was enhancement. In Francois Rabelais book Le Quart Livre (1552) he mentions “Robert, inventor of Sauce Robert, a healthy addition to roast rabbit, duck, fresh pork, poached eggs, salt cod and many other meats.” Michael modernized the recipe with a few minor tweaks, and is now his favorite of the Bottled Thyme varieties.

Cooking from scratch is an easy way to control things like salt and fat, which aids in a healthy diet; a goal we all should strive for. Bottled Thyme contributes to this healthy diet by using all natural ingredients, gluten free, no artificial sugar or high fructose corn syrup, and low salt content. You can visit their website contains weekly articles on different seasonal ingredients or helpful tips on eating healthily. They also provide easy to follow recipes, including several for vegetarian, vegan, or gluten free diets. To make from scratch cooking even easier, they dedicated an entire section for crock pot recipes. Who doesn’t like coming home from their busy day, their home full of wonderful aromas and having their dinner just about ready? The ease of clean up from this one pot meal is really the icing on the cake.