Sunday, June 29, 2014

Pushing the limits of Pesto ...The Beginning

My girlfriend claims the pesto sauces I make are the best she has ever had. So this probably means they are the best pestos ever made. One of the best things about them is that they are never the same twice. part of this has to do with the fact that it is incredibly difficult for me to follow a recipe without changing it. I have a compulsive need to experiment. Granted, there isn't a huge list of dishes in my repertoire and some come out better than others depending on that days mix of spices, chosen on the fly from the spice rack, while pans are smoking away, but if I do say so myself, pesto is something I get right. Every time. I will also grant you that pesto is incredibly easy to make, next to impossible to mess up and it can be almost anything. Its like cereal; Its going to be delicious no matter what, plus you can add some blueberries if you really want to go nuts. Thats how i get down. Anyway there is a lot of room for experimenting in a pesto.

The last batch is a perfect example of how reckless things can get, how little reverence for tradition i maintain. I am such a culinary rebel. This last batch included immature broccoli heads and broccoli greens, beet greens, some kale, minutina, arugula, dashes of marjoram, mint, thyme, basil and oregano along with the usual suspects of olive oil, garlic, parmesan etc.

While I was making this I started thinking about the demands for continuity in the production of  certain food items. Is there a real desire on the part of the consumer driving these standards of perfection or are they just marketing ploys? And in either case what animal drives are being satisfied? Where did this inclination for homogenized product quality come from? What is the evolutionary benefit to  having every doritos chip look and taste the same as every other?

Many questions with no answers. Yet.

For now I only wonder if there might be a place in the market for delicious, healthy, wholesome handmade products which actually TRY to be a little different every time you buy it. Imagine a pesto sauce that was different every time you bought a jar. Of course there might be one you really like and you might be really disappointed knowing it will never be seen again but maybe that also might make you appreciate the experience of eating it a little more. Knowing the care and love that went into creating not just a delicious food creation but a unique experience as well might increase the joy of tasting it, while making you more excited about what the next experience might be.

I know, I know, Im putting an awful lot of weight into this hypothetical pesto sauce. It might be too much. Maybe people dont want that sort of emotional burden associated with their food. Its Thursday night, you want a quick meal out of a jar, not a transcendental experience which requires the mindfulness of a goddamn Bodhisattva to appreciate.

But still.... Im really in to this idea. What do you think? Are there people who would be interested in a product defined not by its ability to maintain predictability but by the impossibility of experiencing the same thing twice? 

....To Be Continued....?

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