On the Saturday of last weekend the majority of the population of Great Britain gave a slice of their hard earned cash to a small body of professionals in the unlikely hope that it would be refunded with interest. This lemming like aberration occurs annually on the day of the Grand National when the nation’s interest turns to whores razing, oars ricing or even hearse raisin depending on who’s asking. To avoid my fingers dancing a diatribe on the keyboard against unintelligible pronunciation, whilst simultaneously being mentally tarred and feathered by my readers, I am crossing the Channel to a place where accent gives way to language and I can get on with making pesto, pistou, romesco or whatever name may be given to a sauce made from basil, pine nuts, cheese and oil (plus or minus a few other things, but always with love) because the sun is shining and I don’t want to argue or to have to pluck feathers from my tarry hide. Why did I ever mention that fecking hearse raze? I started the day with my mind untrammelled by thundering hooves, or tondering hoofs, but filled with the pleasure of remembering a wonderful book entitled “A Taste of France”, published in the early 80’s, that was filled with calmly beautiful food pictures by the great American photographer, Robert Freson. Food photography is, of late, as prone to the foibles of fashion as any other genre but, even though I do not own any of his books, his pictures remain as fresh in my mind as on the day that I first saw them which leads me back to the moment that I was making a shopping list in the kitchen, seeing the basil in the sunlight and deciding to make some pesto. Being too lazy to pulverise the soft green leaves in a mortar I can still relish the first waves of basil laden scent as they are released by the whirling blades of the processor while I carefully grate a chunk of crumbly Parmesan, making sure to eat any stray pieces that fall onto the board. My laziness allows me to watch, through the transparent side of the bowl, as the cheese, basil, pine nuts, walnuts and olive oil slowly metamorphose into a viridian paste that I finally loosen with a tablespoon of warm water. Impossible to resist a green and yellow flecked finger full just to check that all’s well and another just to be sure. I feel that whatever it has cost me to make this deliciously beautiful condiment has been refunded with interest and I certainly feel richer for the pleasure that it has afforded me, in any man’s language
This entry was posted in Basil, Cheese, Cooking, Digital photography, Food and Photography, Food photographer, France, Mediterranean food, Olive oil, Parmigiana Reggiano, Pesto, photography course, Photography holiday, Pine Nuts, summer, walnuts, Writing and tagged Cookery, food, food photographers, France, Photography course. Bookmark the permalink.