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Basil Pesto

August 13, 2009
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Pesto & Mozzarella

Pesto & Mozzarella

Recently I was talking to someone who’s life is not in a perfect place. She’s been hit by a triple whammy: money, career and love are all pretty deep in the shitter right now with no signs of improving. As we were talking she was remembering back to a specific day in her life, almost two decades ago, when she first met the man she would later go on to marry. She didn’t have much money then and her career had yet to take off. Even so, she was not burdened with the debt and failure she is burdened with now. “At that moment in time,” she said, “everything was perfect. And I don’t think I even realized it.”

I recently turned 34 and will say without any hesitation that the type of professional success I yearn for is still painfully out of reach. This afternoon I suffered through the humiliation of meeting with a mortgage broker who tried to tactfully explain that I could not afford a house in the city I live in. And this city that I live in, even after  five years, is one that I struggle to call home. Even so, things are pretty damn good. And after having the above conversation, I’ve developed a distinct feeling that this is a time in my life that years from now I will look back at as being pretty close to perfect.

The downside of realizing this is that you feel the passage of time even more acutely. I am living in a golden moment, when I am still hopeful and determined and blissfully naive. My husband adores everything about me and I adore him. I don’t look great in a bikini anymore but I still look pretty cute in a summer dress. But life is going to go on and who knows what lies ahead.

This is why in life we need those things that will always bring us back to a perfect place, even when things aren’t so perfect anymore. A great glass of wine, a big piece of chocolate cake…pick your poison. For me, it is pesto. Specifically, my mom’s pesto made from the intoxicatingly aromatic basil that grows in her garden like an untamable weed.  She spikes the pesto with lots of garlic and never skimps on the olive oil and cheese. Always, she serves it in a big bowl and we sit around the table, ripping off chunks of bread and greedily dragging them through the pesto. The moment is fleeting; the pesto is always gone too soon. But it is a moment of pure bliss that can be re-created over and over again.

It doesn’t take very much time to make your own pesto.  It will always taste better than any pesto you buy in a jar, no matter how expensive. Pesto is simply not meant to be kept. It is meant to be eaten immediately with much gusto.

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