Wednesday, September 7, 2011

About Rosemary

One day while walking a few blocks to use the internet while I was at Chipole, Tanzania---where the 400 member Benedictine community of St. Agnes resides---I saw a sister separating the herb, rosemary, from its branch.

She had carefully collected the precious herb on top of a sack. Everyone who passed by smelled the long, thin herb and delighted in its fragrance.

The next day, the same sister was getting ready to pound the rosemary into a fine powder. I watched her clean the tools, a wooden bowl elevated at least two feet high and a long wooden "pounder."

When the bowl was almost full, she began to pound with a steady rhythm. Suddenly I wanted to try. She was generous, but I knew it was not a job for me because my arms hurt immediately. I did not have any upper body strength for the type of steady action this process required. The picture above shows the energy needed.

The Sisters use the rosemary for seasoning the sausage they make, as well as for preparing delicious pork roast for their table.

With her best English, this young Benedictine Sister indicated to me that a machine would be better. Yet, I realized that until they had such a machine, she or someone else like her would be preparing the rosemary powder with an age-old method that takes human striving and strength, great patience, and steady action.

Food for thought?

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