GO POUND SOMETHING FRAGRANT

Gardening with herbs, which is becoming increasingly popular, is indulged in by those who like subtlety in their plants in preference to brilliance.”

Helen Morgenthau Fox

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L’HERBE ROYALE

Ah, basil. I stand amid the waist-high plants and tear off leaves.  Stormy winds and chilly nights are coming and I’m not taking any chances. My basil is besiegingly lovely. Beyond Utterance. A bull moose bumper crop of Biblical measure.

Basil was so revered in ancient civilizations that only kings and priests could gather it.  My Italian grandmother taught me to tear basil and Never Ever cut it with a knife.

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In ancient Rome, basil was called Basilescus, meaning the Basilisk~  a fire-breathing, half-lizard, half-dragon creature with a fatal piercing stare. This creature had the head of a rooster, the body of a serpent, and the wings of a bat. Basil leaves were said to be the only cure for its bite as well as its withering breath, which could kill plants and animals. The Romans ( and my father) believed you needed to rant and swear while sowing the seeds in order to get the most potent plant possible.

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There’s good basil and bad basil.  Basil was considered a powerful protector, planted around temples and laid with the dead. But, in Sicily, they say that basil dropped between two bricks transforms into a scorpion. (I recently learned that babies have something in common with basil.  Listen to the candidates take on the issue of anchor babies. There are good babies and bad babies? Dropped, not born? Sigh.)

I say escape the stormy political hysteria.

Get yourself some basil.

Make pesto.

Cheering effect guaranteed.

Pesto

2 ounces of parmigiano reggiano cheese

1 garlic clove

1/2 cup pine nuts

2 cups packed fresh basil

some parsley

1/4 cup olive oil

Place the cheese and the garlic in a food processor and whirr until fine. Add the basil and pine nuts and drizzle in the olive oil slowly until the pesto is thoroughly processed.

Add the pesto, a little pasta water, and a few grinds of black pepper to the serving bowl mixture and toss well.

Pounding fragrant things — particularly garlic, basil, parsley — is a tremendous antidote to depression. But it applies also to juniper berries, coriander seeds and the grilled fruits of the chilli pepper. Pounding these things produces an alteration in one’s being — from sighing with fatigue to inhaling with pleasure. The cheering effects of herbs and alliums cannot be too often reiterated. Virgil’s appetite was probably improved equally by pounding garlic as by eating it.”

Toni 8/29/15

WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE: TODAY WAS A GOOD DAY

Cheri Lucas Rowlands, story wrangler and editor at Automattic, introduced Mesh to all her fans here at WordPress.  Promethean stuff.

Click right, left, full screen, share, get your own Mesh app here free at the iTunes store.

Click here for the post with a link to the recipe.

Click here for a Free Pass to more Mesh galleries.

I gotta feeling that tonight’s gonna be a good night
That tonight’s gonna be a good night
That tonight’s gonna be a good, good night

-The Black Eyed Peas

Toni 8/23/15

DID SOMEONE SAY #TBT?

The Couple, 1939

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Their Wedding Cake Topper

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This is my parents’ wedding cake topper, still encased in the 1939 version of plastic wrap.  It is disarmingly lovely.

 

Wedding coming up?

Yearning for something vintage?

You can get this one at Some Bit of Stuff.

Toni 8/19/15

 

 

WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE: CREEPY

Chief Semicolon Advocate at WordPress Michelle W. says share an image of something creepy. Unsettling. Eerie. I dare you to look at her babies.

erice16An abandoned castle on the breath-abating vertical trail to Erice, a small medieval town in Sicily prized for its defensive position by Carthaginians, Romans, and Normans.

 

Toni 8/19/15

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JULIA CHILD

It’s Julia Child’s birthday. oooh, Butter cake.

 

Thank you, PBS, you make me happy. I cook along with Julia and learn plenty. Julia says fix your mistakes or learn to live with them. And she does – with savoir faire.

Julia-Child

Julia’s an expert plucker, skinner, and boner. I watch her cut up a chicken, loosen skin from flesh, and pull the bones out of a goose. She stirs two pots at a time and has such a jolly time doing it that I, too, cook with a spoon in each hand. Her humor and appetite for la cuisine francaise is contagious.

As much as she is devoted to the “rules” of French cooking, Julia revels in culinary exploration. Her sense of wonder and inquisitiveness inspire me whenever I reach for a copper pot. As her recipes grow bolder, so do mine – tender escargot bobbling in garlicky butter and musky truffles redolent of earth. Pure Flavorful Heaven. Ouf!

 

But Julia is more than the Master of French Cooking. She is A Writer. No stranger to the arduous writing process, the cut-and-dried business end of publishing, the seven hundred pages that need pruning. Mastering the Art of French Cooking is her labor of love.

 

Julia’s tome needed a good final edit.  So when Julia’s editor said her book was unpublishable – too big, too expensive, too elaborate – she murdered some of her darlings. Tons were ‘killed’ but not discarded. Julia saved those foolproof recipes for subsequent books. Limaces to be used another day.

Don’t slugs sound lovelier in French?

Julia inspires legions of cooks like me who muck about in the kitchen. We do so care what she made for lunch, however daunting it seems.

Some of us cooks also like to play here at WordPress where millions of bloggers inspire legions of writers to hit the publish button.

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photo credit George, The Off Key of Life

 

So today, WWWW is taking a breath, backing away from the stats (yes, we eyeball ours, just like you do ) to introduce you to Friend/Follower #3313, George, at The Off Key of Life. He isn’t cataloguing his pantry shelves or obsessing over finding the perfect microplane. He’s just mucking about with words. Bon Appétit.

Toni 8/15/2015