Writing my way through the A-to-Z blogging challenge, I’ll be using manicules (those pointing finger symbols) to direct your attention to something I’m pondering that delights or interests me. Each entry is somehow related to an unusual, obscure, or simply charming to me word.
O is for…
olitory – pot herbs; kitchen garden
Etymology: From Latin: olitorius (“belonging to a kitchen gardener, or to vegetables”), from olitor (“a kitchen gardener”), from olus, oleris (“vegetables”).
Although I have a number of mints growing in my small garden, I have a windowsill garden of herbs I use in cooking. I consider myself delightfully lucky that the CSA (community supported agriculture) from which I buy seasonal food from local farms, every year offers pots of various herbs. It gives me great pleasure to admire them in the window as I wash dishes daily, and to snip a bit here and there as a recipe calls for it.
While I enjoy all of them, I confess Rosemary is always my favorite. Not necessarily for its taste, although I am a fan, but more for what it represents.
Rosemary is commonly associated with the idea of remembrance; both in the sense of a love charm and perhaps more widely understood as a reminder to remember our beloved who have crossed.
But there’s also another aspect of remembrance – Greek and Roman students wore garlands of rosemary as they studied, believing it would help preserve memory.
The usefulness of this delightfully fragrant herb isn’t limited to just these things though. It was thought to be effective in all brain matters; used in hospitals and sick rooms to purify the air; in wedding bouquets and other arrangements to encourage loyalty; in sachets to repel moths and other insects; and then there are all the culinary uses as well.
I often think of Rosemary in conjunction with Pansies, thanks to Shakespeare’s Ophelia speaking in the language of flowers…
“There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance. Pray you, love, remember. And there is pansies, that’s for thoughts.”
Burning Rosemary is something I do at Samhain in ancestor remembrance ceremonies, but I enjoy using it both in the culinary sense and more spiritually much frequently than just that.
And there are certainly days when I think I should get myself a crown of rosemary to wear as the Greeks did. If only I would remember.
What about you? Have a garden? Grow herbs? Have a favorite? Do tell – you know I love to hear.