I did not even say the word ‘pesto’ out loud until I was in my mid twenties.
As far as I know it did not exist in Britain until then.
I had never heard of it.

Mind you I still remember visiting the chemist with my mother to buy olive oil because before 1984 in Britain olive oil was something you put in your ear not your salad.

I also remember, years ago, going out into London to track down the mysterious ‘Chorizo’ sausage, only available in two specialist Spanish delicatessen. We needed it for a show where it was eaten in big chunks. Half way through the run we found we had bought out both shops. London suffered a chorizo famine. We substituted an orange looking salami but it was not the same. Nowadays you are tripping over the stuff.

The Proles love pesto.
They could and do eat buckets of pasta and pesto.

Prole1: Do you like green pesto or red pesto?

Prole2: Green.

Prole1: I like red.

Prole2: I like green and red.

Prole1: They are primary colours. You could mix them together and get brown pesto.

Prole2: Brown pesto?

Prole1: Yes. But I think pesto is more like ink than light so you would have to mix magenta pesto with yellow pesto to get red pesto and then mix that with green pesto. Then you could get brown pesto.

Prole2: Dad, can we have BROWN PESTO?

Me: You want brown pesto?

Prole2: Yep. You mix it. From others. I bet it’s double yummy.

Prole1: Yes, two times the pesto, twice the….

His eyes glazed over for a moment and he went still.

Prole1(as if from a long way away): ….yum.

Me: Ummm, maybe next week.

I think I got off lightly in not being asked for magenta pesto.

Once of a day I used to feel it had some kind of mystique, this romantic and foreign pesto.

I used to make my own and would even make a vegan version for Loz. We used to buy fresh herbs and garlic every other week.
We had a tiny blender that she had won in a vegan recipe competition. She took first prize for her ‘vegan shreddies surprise bake’, a dish that as far as I know has never ever been cooked by anyone, not even Loz who dreamt the whole thing up in a bout of insomnia.
I can’t imagine the judges could have made it. Not without working out the truth.
Still, she got the blender and somewhere out there is her recipe, waiting…waiting…

In the last few years pasta and pesto has become the default “I really cannot be bothered to cook” meal and comes from a jar.
The blender is at the back of the cupboard.
Where as once of a day beans on toast was the culinary admission that you had run out of energy and imagination, pasta and pesto has now taken that crown.

I try to salve my conscience by finely chopping broccoli and adding that with half a can of sweet corn to the mix but I am hardly fooling myself with that one.

The honest truth is that I don’t cook much any more.
I used to cook a full evening meal for me and the boys every night but no matter how finely I judged the portions we always seemed to throw most of theirs away.
As a parent I could not bear spending so much money each week and then throwing it in the bin.
I was offended and depressed by the waste in the house so I started eating the left overs.
That winter I put on three quarters of a stone. I did not fit into any of my trousers any more and had to wear big jumpers.
In the end I gave in. I stopped cooking for us all.
Now most nights I cook a meal for them and sit at the table with them whilst they eat. When they finish I clear their plates, eat what is left and if I am still hungry I make a snack later. A couple of times a week I make a stir fry after they go to bed.

I look forward to those special meals where we can all sit down together and share because leftovers four nights a week are dull.

Pasta pesto leftovers are the worst.

I am not looking forward to brown pesto week either.

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