December 7, 2023 | Rome, Italy

Defeating the slime

By |2018-03-21T18:48:32+01:00March 24th, 2012|"In Provincia"|
Salt to capture the fragrance of the fresh rosemary. Photos by Ruurd de Jong.

ot all country girls are the same. I have a friend who loves multinational food. And no, not multicultural food.

I mean Kraft, Nestle, MacD, Findus, you name it. Prepackaged, precooked, pre-fried, accompanied by generous gulps of gut-bursting fizzy drinks. She’s Italian, in case you’re wondering.

Daughter of an eminent gastroenterologist, she is not unreasonable, nor overweight. She is bright, well-educated and generous. In fact, she’s among my best friends.

Her stand on organic food is as follows: 1. It’s an unnecessary luxury; 2. She doesn’t trust it; and 3. It’s most likely a fake. While she says this, she crumbles a slice of Kraft Singles on her pasta. She doesn’t like Parmesan.

We humans can be so different and still love each other.

She trusts a faceless money-churning organization known to sell “pink slime” for human consumption.

More unsettlingly, she refuses to imagine a small farmer bringing apples to the market that haven’t been treated at least 30 times (yes) with pesticides before harvesting.

Ever since I’ve known her, I’ve been on mission. I pester her about the quality of her food. I know I can’t save her, but I am trying to teach her to make a good pie, one with real ingredients, not from the box. The pie plot is my next step. I want to convince her that it’s easier even than buying the stale stuff off the shelf.

While she looks at me dubiously, I’m off scheming my next natural concoction.

Rosemary salt


  • 1 cup coarse salt.

  • 2 cups fresh rosemary needles.

Preliminary notes

The whole point of making rosemary salt is to capture the fragrance of the fresh rosemary. Don’t use dried rosemary or the greenhouse variety, both of which lack flavor. If you don’t own a rosemary plant, buy preferably organic rosemary.

Wash it quickly if you need to, but ensure the leaves have completely dried out, as the excess moisture can generate mold.

The choice of salt is yours. I use inexpensive sea salt that’s available in every Italian supermarket. Go fancier if you want.

I also use a fairly small proportion of salt since I’m more interested in the rosemary flavor than the salt. The balance is up to you.


Simple. Put all ingredients in a food processor. Whiz until the rosemary needles are reduced to the smallest possible pieces (2-3 mm/0.1 inches in length). When ready, put the mixture into a tightly closed mason jar.

Sprinkle on meat, chicken, pizza and focaccia as a garnish. Oh, and put Kraft out of your mind.

About the Author:

Letizia Mattiacci wrote the "In Provincia" column from 2011 through 2019.