Lauri Sturdivant is interested in how our friends and families gather around a table sharing meals and telling stories. In this column she shares recipes and stories from people in Siskiyou County, and restaurant reviews from her travels. Read full interviews, find recipes and reviews at TheBillPlate.com.

Rosemary is an herb with many culinary and medicinal uses. You will see potted rosemary plants being sold as living Christmas trees in local stores. Fresh sprigs of rosemary are a fragrant addition to holiday décor including table greenery and garland. This woodsy herb goes well with traditional holiday meals of turkey, goose or roast beef. Rosemary and sage are essential herbs for stuffing.

Salvia Rosmarinus is native to the Mediterranean is commonly known as rosemary. It can be seen in gardens throughout Siskiyou County. It is a woody, perennial herb with fragrant, evergreen needle-like leaves and bee loving purple flowers. Herbs come from the leaves, flowers or stems with spices referring to seeds, fruit, root or bark of a plant.

Folk medicine has long advised the smelling rosemary to improve one’s memory. Modern day scientific studies are finding evidence that there is a coloration to rosemary and increasing memory.

Rosemary has inspired poems by Edna St. Vincent Millay, C. Fox Smith and Marian Moore. Shakespeare refers to rosemary in Hamlet. The death of Ophelia has been praised as one of the most poetically written death scenes in literature. Shakespeare’s Ophelia appeals to Hamlet, “There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance, pray you love, remember.”

Here are a few simple recipes to enjoy the earthy aroma of rosemary.

Roasted Potatoes with Rosemary

Toss Yukon Gold or red potatoes with four four-inch fresh sprigs of rosemary (four teaspoons dried) along with salt, pepper and olive oil. Roast in the oven at 425 degree for 40 minutes or until tender.

Rosemary-infused oil

This delicious and useful oil can be made by placing the leaves of two six-inch sprigs of rosemary in a glass jar and covering them with a good olive oil. Store in a warm, dark place for two weeks. Strain before using in your favorite vinaigrette or to baste a baked chicken.

Rosemary tea

Used as a hair rinse, rosemary is said to stimulate hair growth. Infuse four fresh sprigs or four tablespoons chopped of dried rosemary in four cups of warm water for at least an hour or up 24 hours. Cool and strain before using one cup of tea as the final rinse.