Tuesday, 1 April 2008

spring has sprung

There are most definitely leaf buds on the trees out there. Daylight savings time has arrived, and just as importantly, so has the wild garlic. Pesto pressie for M: Wild garlic, white beans, miso paste, lemon, salt, cashews. Easy, vampire-resistant, and spring-like. I could dress it up and add more stuff, but why fuck with perfection?
This pesto did, however, get me thinking about veganizing familiar foods. In this case, adding miso and white beans to make the pesto creamy and give it that cheese-ish taste. I guess the other option would just be tons of nuts and oil, but that's really oily, and as Spanky will confirm (and occasionally bemoan) that I'm not the biggest fan of oily food. Not that anyone would be fooled into thinking that there was animal cheese in my pesto (thank goodness!), but it does have that sharp/salty/fermenty category of taste going on. And this is the point where a rude omnivore would say "it doesn't taste right". Really? I think it tastes exactly right. And by "right" I mean "yummy". If I were as rude as the kind of person who would say that while sitting at somebody else's dinner table I'd reply "oh, you mean it doesn't taste like death?" Ahem. Perhaps sadly, I am not quite that rude. After consulting Ms. Manners, I've decided that instead of provoking the dreaded "defensive omnivore" conversation, those people just aren't getting any more foodish presents.
Food is a bit of a touchy subject with a lot of people. It's full of memories and associations and expectations. You might associate homemade pesto with your mom. I associate homemade wild garlic pesto with the Munich Viktualienmarkt and with a few Sunday hikes with some friends around Cologne, gathering as much wild garlic as we could stuff into our backpacks. It reminds me of buying the stuff by the shopping bagful at the Jean-Talon market in Montreal, washing it in the bathtub, and making batch after batch of pesto to give to friends when I was a student and this was a great (and super cheap) gift. What I'm getting at here is that I have memories of this stuff, and I want the taste of it to bring them back and keep them sharp. And it doesn't taste the same as a non-vegan version. But that doesn't mean that vegan food doesn't taste "right" or that the new version is a failed imitation of an old version. If I had (or if we had, as a society) lifetimes of memories associated with vegan food, and social occasions built around vegan meals, then no one would claim that it "didn't taste right". It would taste just like they remembered it. I've had enough vegan springs, holidays and birthday cakes now that the vegan versions ARE how I remember it: yummy.


medici said...

mMmmmMmmm. nothing gets me going like spring, and garlic, and gorgeous greenery. what a thought: gorgeous garlicky green goodness in the scottish spring! i mean, who *could* resist that thought? not i. i am much too down-to-earth to resist.

this is another good picture of great food with a rant that hits home for me.

on with the celebration!!!

medici said...

oh. my. god.

everybody has to try making this. it is powerful good and has made me go all floaty. it has also chased my office mates away. hurray!!! no vampires, no office mates -- i love this!!!

oh yeah, i'm floating. and it's such a pretty pesto, too - green with texture. like metamorphic rock, but soft and from another planet. and full of garlic.