Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Basil leaf symbolically wedges itself into otherwise wonderful marriage

I fell for my wife because she is beautiful and then I fell in love with her because she is thoughtful, kind, amazing, hard-working, principled … lots of adjectives that are good. Also because we share so many interests.

Seriously, we are so darn compatible. It’s something I didn’t put much stock into while being lured by her magnetic force of attraction—I would have married her on the spot after our first date without any thought as to how she takes her coffee. But every day that passes I realize more and more just how soulmate-y we truly are.

We find the same things funny, first and foremost. We share the same faith, which is kind of important. We come from similar backgrounds and share the same values, and therefore have matching parenting strategies. We express the same level of indignation at things like genetically modified organisms and Sheriff Joe Arpaio. And yes, we take our coffees the same—light cream, no sugar—and become equally frustrated when the dunderheads at Dunkin Donuts put sugar in there: “What is this, amateur hour?” (Neither of us would ever say that to an employee’s face, only to each other after the fact.)

Yet there remains a stumbling block to our relationship realizing its full potential. It is very important and it hurts me in the heart to even write this. But, here goes: My wife doesn’t like pesto.

I know. Who doesn’t like pesto? It is delicious and green and made from basil, and the scent of basil is what wafts throughout heaven, according to the Bible (somewhere in like “Esther” or something). Plus, SHE’S ITALIAN. Some form of pesto makes its way into most Italian meals, and I find it unconscionable she does not have an appreciation for its goodness. Even our daughters, who complain about everything, like pesto, mostly because it’s green and I can convince them it’s “booger sauce,” which is somehow a motivator for them. They are weird.

But why I am bringing this up now, nine years into an otherwise blissful marriage? Well, it had not been an issue until recently. You see, I could never make pesto. I would just order it for myself at restaurants or, better yet, wait for my father-in-law to get here so he could make it. His pesto is out-of-this-world and he makes it for us all the time and in direct defiance to his own daughter’s very verbal dislike of it. It’s great—he doesn’t care. Honestly, since the day she brought me home, every meal my in-laws have made for us has been specifically for me. They couldn’t name their own daughter’s favorite meal at this point if their lives depended on it.

Anyway, since it makes for such a great summer dish, I bought a bunch of basil at Trader Joe’s not too long ago on a whim, and did a bit of pesto-making research that may or may not have involved YouTube tutorials. And wouldn’t ya’ know, it turned out pretty decent! (It’s so easy to make I’m not sure what the heck I was doing before that made it the color, texture, and taste of rotten spinach. Maybe because I didn’t have a blender?)

Even my wife admitted it wasn’t so bad, also noting a) it’s nowhere close to her dad’s and b) she doesn’t like pesto and c) did I remember she doesn’t like pesto?

Now I can’t stop. I’ve been armed with the know-how to adequately make one of my favorite dishes, which has only further highlighted the one thing on which my wife and I cannot agree. I’m sure it’ll all work out … when she relents. Which she won’t because, did I mention she’s Italian?

I’m not sure it will help matters that, when her parents read this, they are totally going to call her and yell at her for giving me a hard time about food and then catch the first flight out here for the specific purpose of making fresh pesto. I’ll keep you guys pesto’d I mean posted.

 The recipe is, this all goes in the blender. Minus the cutting board. You're welcome.

Note: This column appears in the 7/18 issue of The Glendale Star and the 7/19 issue of the Peoria Times.

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