Pesto And Vodka — A Bit Of A Ramble

I used commercial pesto on the pasta last night. I know, I know, it’s so easy to make, why didn’t I just whip up a batch? Because I AM NOT A CHEF! Sometimes I feel like eating out of a jar or a can or a package. And I’m willing to bet that most people who consider themselves cooks will, occasionally, pop open something made in a factory. I used De Cecco Pesto alla Genovese, which I found at a very nice local deli. It had an interesting minty quality, no doubt because of the variety of basil used. Basil and mint are in the same family, so this wasn’t a surprise, but I like the less minty variety that I am used to cooking with.

If there are any toxicologists in my vast audience, perhaps she would like to respond to this post with some comments about estragole, which is found in basil (among many other plants) and is a carcinogen. I’m not worried, just curious. My guess is that I would have to eat pounds of basil every day for any real risk.

Just in case you thought that my cooking failure was limited to dinner, we ran out of cold vodka for martinis and had to mix. And not just any mix, but two different brands made from different carbohydrate sources! We blended cold Stolichnaya, which is a Russian wheat vodka, with Luksosova, a Polish potato vodka. With great success! I think that blending is the next step in vodka production — there is already a high-end vodka that is a blend of rye, wheat and potato vodkas. It is called Ultimat, and it is very good, and obscenely overpriced.

I did redeem myself as a cook by making the kids a great dish of sautéed pork chops over rice with mustard sauce that they licked off their plates when I wasn’t looking.

2 Replies to “Pesto And Vodka — A Bit Of A Ramble”

  1. As a toxicologist, I can tell you that estragole is only considered to be a carcinogen by the State of California. As long as you remain in NJ, you should be fine. Other than that, the point is moot.

  2. As you say, it is moot, because I have no interest in avoiding good food because of some theoretical danger to my health. I wear my safety belt when I drive, I don’t smoke, and I don’t share needles. I think I have covered 99% of my risk. And I’ll tolerate the remaining 1% in the interest of eating and drinking well.

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