The strong aroma of thyme fills the air as we wait for our beef bourguignon in a café, in Quebec. Native to the Mediterranean, the many varieties from Morocco, Spain, France and the Caribbean generally come as small narrow or large broad leaf varieties. Sold as fresh, ground or dried, it has a piney phenol-like taste and herbaceous aroma. Romans and Greeks used thyme to disinfect water and treat infections, but today, it is a dominant spicing in French cooking. Popular in herb de provence and bouquet garni, it also flavors meats and fish, or mixed with olive oil to serve as a dip for breads in the Middle East. In the U.S., it is added to clam chowders, sausages, stuffing or blackened fish, and in Jamaica, it is combined with all spice for jerk products.