Pesto (Dis)Pleasures


Gourmet grocery stores and college sophomore kitchens alike are brimming with one of July’s finest treats: pesto, the all-purpose condiment. Why more of my friends haven’t discovered the joys of homemade bruschetta is beyond me. Toast some sourdough bread, smear some pesto on it and topple any of your crummy snack foods on top (old walnuts? cheap cheese shreds?), and you’ve faked your way into creating an appetizer that’s seemingly sophisticated and definitely delicious.

Pesto is also an easy way to trick your children into eating disgusting food. As a child who managed to survive on a diet of popcorn, baloney slices and American cheese, I know first-hand the techniques that my parents would employ to trick me into consuming something that wouldn’t end up killing me in 50 years. Combine pesto with some steamed squashed, broccoli, tomatoes, carrots and mushrooms and observe the fairly appetizing results. The hypothesis? Pesto is good on everything.

Well . . . almost. Never foregoing a chance to completely debase ourselves, the staff of the Bohemian this week decided to test that hypothesis.

Sitting around a wooden table, we stared at the containers of pesto and French vanilla ice cream which were, for better or for worse, about to become one.

Most of us were disgusted. A few of the masochists were pleased with the mixture. “I still feel like they’re those two really cool, interesting friends that should never be in a relationship,” mused one of our taste-testers, as he plopped a spoon of pesto into his ice cream. “Oh fuck, man, that’s disgusting.”

Enter one step at a time and don’t get too in over your head, because the pool of pesto isn’t for the faint of heart.

Sonoma County Library