Native to the Mediterranean and considered sacred to ancient Egyptians, Romans, and Greeks, rosemary is a woody perennial shrub with needle-like leaves and white, pink, purple or blue flowers. The plant was among the most popular cultivated in first-century CE Alexandria as an easy-to-grow decorative plant and herb.
In THE DEADLIEST HATE, Miriam encounters it clipped as a fragrant hedge enclosing a marble mansion in Caesarea and then again in THE DEADLIEST FEVER as a potted plant gracing the entrance to one of the many townhouses in Alexandria:
Judah and I crossed the pavement to the sunnier side, pulling our shadows up the narrow walk, a mixture of sand, shells, and pebbles. Mounting the few shallow steps, we welcomed the shade of the portico and the scent of rosemary flowering in the pots on either side of the metal-studded, sun-bleached oak door.
But Miriam's favorite use for rosemary may be culinary. The flowers are served in a salad to accompany boiled capon in one of her favorite restaurants, The Flamingo's Tongue, which seasons the neighborhood with the aroma of friend onions and grants diners a view of the lighthouse and the thousands of ships moored in the Great Harbor.
I myself grow rosemary for its leaves, to add a pinch to a stew of chicken and rice. They have a bitter, astringent taste and a characteristic aroma that compliments many meats and vegetables dishes. But you don't have to grow it or buy it. Just pick up THE DEADLIEST HATE or THE DEADLIEST FEVER to enjoy it in a captivating story. Click here.