y wife and I were watching the news on TV the other night when we had a visit from one of our neighbors. She came to deliver the storage jar my wife had given her earlier, it contained the pesto we had been making throughout the summer. It seems that my wife had told her that she would not give out anymore pesto unless the jars were returned. This is a fact she tells everyone.
This particular neighbor not only brought back the one jar that used to contain the pesto, but also brought two others, so that my wife would be pleased with her.This story will make no sense unless I define what pesto is. The base of this garnish is the herb basil. A few years ago I tried to grow basil in my garden and found out that it loved the chemistry of the soil where I planted it. The plant grew like a weed: in fact, before this time I always thought it was a weed. When the leaves grow large I pick them and bring them to my wife. She then cleans them and shreds them in our processor, with fresh garlic, pepper, and imported Pecorino Romano cheese. After this mixture looks like the mulch I produce with my lawnmower, my wife adds extra extra virgin olive oil and pine nuts. Before this time I never knew what a pine nut was! Today, I now know that they cost over $8.00 for a small bag. I once suggested that my wife substitute walnuts for the pine nuts but she gave me a look that made me feel cold.
You can put pesto on everything and anything. You can use it in your sauces, in your baked breads, on fish, and on every type of meat or vegetable. You can use it as a dip with cheese and crackers. It is a great replacement for mayonnaise or mustard and a garden tomato and cheese sandwich, with pesto on both sides of the bread, is to die for. You can even use it for a garnish on your plate, to dip your cooked meat, fish or chicken in. This mixture of fresh herbs and spices makes everything taste simply remarkable. You can’t buy this at any store. They do sell it and call it ‘pesto’ but it never has the same taste as my wife’s pesto. The store’s brand usually uses some sort of vegetable oil combination and substitutes walnuts or peanuts, for the pine nuts. This pseudo pesto also uses Parmesan cheese instead of the Romano. To buy pesto at a store is like watching a pick-up game of softball instead of going to Fenway Park.
Not everyone likes pesto. My brother-in-law told my wife that he couldn’t eat anything made from basil. Considering he weighs close to 250 lbs. and has a cholesterol level equal to the national debt it is no wonder. His wife loves the stuff, we had them over, the other night, and he again reiterated that he hated the smell of pesto. My wife then looked at him and exclaimed, “no more pesto for you!” I understand that this sounds like an old Seinfeld episode but the facts remain the facts and, ever since that night, his wife has been apologizing for her husband’s impropriety. You see she loves the taste of pesto but, like her husband, there will be no more pesto for her! All the other members of my family adore the stuff. Many have come over our house to bring my wife pleasant-tasting desserts and even some flowers and plants. It is almost as though they are offering some sort of alms, so that they can receive more pesto. I like to call it bribery but I don’t care because I adore the sweets.
This summer season has produced a bumper crop of basil: I am beginning to think of it as a basil tree instead of a plant. My wife and I have produced over 40 pint jars of pesto. In fact, we had to buy a freezer so that we could store them all. We have given many away to people who sincerely love it. They tell my wife about how her creation made their foods taste as though they were prepared by the finest of chefs. Many have called it the emerald of all the spices and have labeled my wife as ‘The Queen of Pesto’.
At an outside party the other day, another one of my brother-in-laws made the mistake of telling my wife that he was getting a bit sick and tired of pesto. Observing his wife turning a pale color behind him, all I could imagine was the look on my wife’s face, clearly expressing the fact that there will be no more pesto for them!
Copyrights reserved by the author, J. G. Fabiano.