Tuesday, August 4, 2009

A Distinctive Woody Shrub

“Rosemary is a distinctive woody shrub, Rosmarinus officinalis, that grows in the dry Mediterranean scrublands, with leaves so narrow and tightly rolled that they look like pine needles. It has a strong, composite scent, made up of woody, pine, floral, eucalyptus, and clove notes. In southern France and Italy it traditionally flavors grilled meats, but it can also complement sweet dishes.”
--On Food and Cooking, The Science and Lore of The Kitchen, Harold McGee.

Eating the Piney Dew

Rosemary. Why did her parents give her that name? Rosmarinus, “dew of the sea.” Why am I eating her, now. The dangerous alleyways, the filthy brick walls where I buried my hand in her poured-on jeans and found her damp bud; I think of this when the greasy lamb passes my lips. I think of her wild black hair, framing her olive skin, ringlets across her rising breasts, pink blossoms beneath her feet. Fences, train cars, garbage bins, bridges, swings in the park, high rise windows -- our playground when we were in high school. But, her name and her flavor were of wilderness. Rosemary, my forest, my tree whore, my penetrating flower…why did she leave me?

Perhaps it was the idea of her that, in fact, drove me away from her. The scent of her drove me away, to search for the primal essence of her amongst the rocks and flowers so far from where we grew up. Pine, clear in the snows of mountains, rubbed between my fingers; clove, cinnamon, pressed into my orange-rind skin; eucalyptus, the oils swimming across my skin: the heady, delirious, intoxicating idea of her made me leave. I wanted her as I drove out of the city, and I knew I would find the totality of her and the depth of who she was in the gardens of my culinary travels.

And so, now, I am eating her again and again. Her strong scent, her tightly rolled form, her narrow body is fodder for my lips and salivating mouth. I am eating her name. I am eating Rose and I am eating Mary. I am eating both of them and all of her, a thin memory of drool running down my bare chest. I savor her bitter parts and her emerald whole, her bouquet of swirling smell and sharp strong bite. My hand reaches for her again and again, rubbing her, releasing her, releasing her pungent delicious odor. She has become me. In her leaving, in my banishment to the dark woods, I have found obsession and craving and unrelenting hunger.

Hungry? Cum into my Kitchen.

Bacon-Wrapped Shrimp
Adapted from Contessa (Naughty slut)

12 ounces of fresh, juicy, well-endowed, uncooked, shrimp (prawns)
Freshly ground black pepper, long in its hardened orbs
1 T. of fresh Rosemary (harvested naked at dawn, while the dew is glistening and licking the toes), chopped
Balsamic vinegar
10 strips of marbled bacon, cut in half-lengths, before erection
Bleu cheese, rich and acrid


Strip naked and preheat broiler
Put Michael Franks' "Barefoot on the Beach" on the sound system
Liberally apply virgin olive oil to skin
Pour a cool glass of rosemary/lime-infused Bombay gin

Place shrimp on baking sheet and sprinkle with black pepper, balsamic vinegar and rosemary
Wrap each shrimp, individually and lovingly, with half strip of bacon and secure with sprig of rosemary
Broil for about 3 minutes on each side, while dancing
Serve, with sprinkle of bleu cheese and a smile


Rosemary is a flowering shrub that has contributed its leaves and stems to many aphrodisiac recipes. Oil from its leaves and flowers have been added to love potions and perfumes. Bouquets of rosemary, “emblematical of manly virtues,” were once presented to bridegrooms on their wedding mornings, and bridal beds are still bedecked with the flowers, in some European countries, to ensure conjugal bliss. The herb has a very old reputation for improving memory and has been used as a symbol for remembrance. Shakespeare had Ophelia present a bunch to Hamlet, to remind him of their meeting on St. Valentine’s Day.

Rosemary has been used as a love charm, in Europe, since the Middle Ages. Newly wed couples would plant a branch on their wedding day. If the branch grew, it was a good omen for the union. Placing a sprig under the pillow, at night, will ward off witches and repel nightmares.

Which….brings us to our discussion topic: What foods do you fix for a lover as a special act of love?

Thanks, ladies and gents, for stopping by for another Sunday Spice adventure, organized by Donna George Storey and Marina St. Clare

Here's the rest of the lineup!

8/16 Emerald
—poppy seeds

8/23 P.S. Haven

8/30 A luxurious adieu!


  1. Wow! First of all, you had me at the first image. Um, wow!

    I love Rose and Mary too, BAK. Delicious shrimp recipe. Yum. Yum.

    Your story is an excellent example of how food often connects us sexually: "...The dangerous alleyways, the filthy brick walls where I buried my hand in her poured-on jeans and found her damp bud; I think of this when the greasy lamb passes my lips...."

    How wonderful, BAK. I enjoyed every sexy detail.

    If my lover is really good, or bad, I'll fix whatever he wants; naked of course, except for a see-through apron tied at my waist. :-)

  2. What a feast, BAK!

    The shrimp dish looks excellent; a wonderful combination of flavors!

    And such a fitting tribute to that lovely Rosemary. I had a neighbor growing up named Rosemary. A pretty girl, tom-boyish who nonetheless played with Barbies; I always thought she was appropriately named.

    I can see why rosemary would be used as a love charm.

    For a special act of love, there are several options that spring to mind. Beautiful for its utter simplicity is sea scallops, lightly cooked, and drizzled in extra virgin olive oil topped with pepper and a dash of sea salt.

    Also, I like to show my affection with an oriental chicken stir fry with poblano chiles.

  3. How delightful BAK! I love, "Broil for about 3 minutes on each side, while dancing." LOL!

    What an evocative musing about Ms. Rosemary above...beautiful — thank you for sharing.

    And that recipe sounds mouth-watering! I love rosemary too (this tour has really reminded me of how much I love herbs and spices — even before consuming them, their smell, appearance, very presence seems so enhancing and somehow special to the kitchen/cooking process), and that dish not only looks beautiful, I don't doubt for a second how delicious it smells and tastes.

    What a lovely question. Hmmm...it seems to me to depend on what the individual for whom I'm cooking likes. I feel like it would be a combination of something he likes and something I would like to cook/present for him. Similar to lingerie in that way — maybe a color or style or something he likes, yet something I love to wear as well. :) I love it when an exquisite combination thereof seems to present itself.

    In any case, I would aim to prepare it consciously with love (I love how you instructed to wrap each shrimp lovingly above). For some reason dessert particularly is coming to my consciousness right now — something rich and dark and chocolate , with moistness and something to lick up...hmmm...I may have to go look into that!

    Thank you BAK, for this sensual and heady ode to rosemary!!

  4. Oh my, BAK! A feast for the senses! Wow! LOVE that first pic!

    The story is beautiful - poetic, touching as always. The recipe got me all het up,too! I love shrimp - any seafood, actually. I could be perfectly happy being a pescetarian.

    Let's see. For a special meal for a special somebody, it would probably be some sort of seafood pasta - shrimp (well-endowed!), scallops, garlic, olive oil - and whatever is fresh at the time. And a salad, some good bread, some wine. And, some sort of homemade sorbet. But - depending on the man and the circumstances, it could just as easily be some burgers on the grill or steamed crabs and some beer! Either way, a walk on the beach sounds like a nice thing to do afterwards - wish I lived somewhere where there was a beach!

    I'm traveling today, but will try to stop back in later this evening. Wonderful post, BAK! Yummy!

  5. Whoa, what happened? I took one look at that first photo and passed out. Just coming to!

    Well, you know how much I love your cooking and what you do with Rosemary and how you put words together. Absolutely delicious. Every time!

    Hmmmm for a special, lusty, lovely meal I like to make something that my lover finds sexy, something that will turn them on, inside and out. There was a plate of fried oysters, a lunchtime necklace of blood oranges and stuffed figs, a naked sushi platter.....listen, watch, imagine -- sky's the limit, really.

    Beautiful post BAK!

  6. I also love to "help" in the kitchen, whether it's naked on the floor um keeping the cook happy or preparing a special side dish. Cooking together is always a turn-on.

  7. Thank you, so much, Neve, Craig, Emerald and Marina!! It's so nice to read these wonderful reviews of my virgin trip into culinary erotica! I will admit that my lovely Gina assisted in the formatting and photography department. I'm semi-illiterate, when it comes to cutting and pasting. But, put me in the kitchen with music, olive oil and a bit of gin and....watch out!

  8. Help, Gina!! I need help in the kitchen! NOW!!

  9. okay - don't have time to read this right now, but will later along with all the other folks here (got here a bit later than planned or I'd have time to read - but looks good)

  10. Craig & Jeremy & Marina & RobinAugust 9, 2009 at 1:54 PM



  11. Donna from the roadAugust 9, 2009 at 3:00 PM

    I'm writing "from the road" (as are a couple of other spicy party goers), but, wow, BAK, I spent a a good long time appreciating that photo. Like Emerald, this spice tour has made me remember how much I enjoy spices, not only the flavor, but the look and smell of the fresh plant--not to mention all the other creative ways to use them!

    I just love the "love letter," the intensity and longing and lust in every sentence. And the recipe--mmmm.

    Now, in thinking over your question, I realized that I don't have a particular dish I would cook as an act of love. As a way to impress, sure (some Venetian cookies), but my "act of love" would be a request from my beloved. Lemon meringue pie is the treat my husband most often requests. Homemade of course, with a lemon custard made from Meyer lemons from our tree in the back. It scares me a bit because pie crust is so fussy and the meringue might burn, but the fear also gives my "gift" an edge. And is there any sweeter reward than the way he licks his lips as he eats?

    I'll be thinking of that for the next few days. Maybe time to start baking ;-)?

  12. i know..i m late..again!..but that post..so delicious and delightfull..i enjoyed every word..and every picture ( no i dont ask again:-)!!! of it...:-)

    by the way..inspired by the fact that this weekend was dedicated to rosemary i made rosemary butter yesterdays for our bbq/ grill evening...:-)

    anyway thank you for sharing all this wonderfullness with us

  13. Thank you Donna, and Danielle! My party line, in answer to my own question is that, whenever I cook for someone whom I love, the act itself is love. It's not so much WHAT is fixed as HOW and WHY. Macaroni and cheese is just as sexy as lobster bisque, or steamed clams in butter.

  14. Great blog, Mr. BadAss. Very nice. And not just this one in particular but the whole thing. Incredible images on here. Thanks!
    What do I cook as an act of love? I don't have a signature dish per se, but I do love to cook. And occasionally even get it right. I think anythign done in the kitchen can be sexy as hell. Even washing the dishes afterwards.
    Thanks again, Kona!
    And a big "hey, y'all" to our comrades on the road! Wish I was there!

  15. sorry am such a spaz and so late. i will repeat: what day is it? :)

    signature dish as act of love. hmm. anything with um...*blush* meat.

    those shrimp look fab. I think they might earn me some love.

  16. Thanks, P.S. and Sommer! And yes, P.S., the kitchen can be just as exciting as the bedroom. :-)

  17. Okay, I was thinking about the question, and couldn't think of anything specific, but then I did! I will make my love and I mochas - usually late morning (he works from home). I'll grind beans and make espresso. In a pan on the stove I'll combine unsweetened cocoa with a little bit of water and then heat it on the stove until the cocoa is dissolved. I usually sweeten it with a combination of xylitol and stevia. Once the cocoa is dissolved and bubbly, I'll pour enough milk for 1 cup of cocoa. When it's heated I combine it with the espresso. While it's heating I'll whip some heavy jersey cream to dollop on. I also warm the cups with hot water while the milk is heating. We each have special mugs for this. When I deliver his mocha he is always most appreciative. It's not anything real fancy - but it's something I enjoy doing that is "just for us."

    Nice BAK, very nice.

  18. And the bedroom can be just as exciting as the kitchen!

    Donna, I love your comment about those fussy recipes giving the meal an "edge." A little FEAR because we WANT so badly to show just how much we CARE is perfect.

    Yep BAK, anything can be sexy. Just thinking about your fried bologna sandwiches turns me to melted cheese goo from the inside out.

  19. Your blog feast is a glorioius tribute to rosemary that will long be remembered (rosemary for remembrance)! "Dew of the sea"—neat! I'll file that tidbit away in my dewy decimal system.

    Off to have breakfast with the bunch ... regards from everyone here!

    [My spamword is "uncep"--presumably a bicep, before you work out.]

  20. Wow Robin, love in a cup....and with Jersey Cream! Your mochas sound really tasty -- and very sweet and sexy.

  21. Rosemary, Dew of the Sea....Hmmm, gotta try rosemary and scallops, now.

    Thanks, everyone, for inviting me into this stratospheric group! And...for your wonderful comments!