Monday, August 27, 2012

Pesto Festo 2012

This has been going on for a lot of years. Like any tradition, it's hard to remember how it got started.

There are a few highlight years. One year back in the 1990s we had it at my house on 15th Avenue & Gail & Ian brought long-stemmed garlic harvested from the Denman Island Farm they had been on. Mave & Keira were there then.

Then there were the two mechanical breakdown years. The food processor burnt out and Ian went out to get a replacement. The next year THAT processor burnt out and Gail went out to buy a Very Sturdy Replacement.

Gail said there were people begging to join this elite gathering. She said she had been telling them to start their own Pesto Festo. Then we thought maybe we could Sell Tickets to people wanting to come to cover our costs.... Other ideas flowed from that of course. Erica suggested the single seating restaurants approach with a set menu.... and so on.

Each year there are talks of management and labor. I was having a fit about quality control on the preparation of the watercress. George & Ian hated de-stemming the watercress. I found a quicker way,  & they didn't obey the new protocol. I became a Pill & a Nag about it until I realized I was having No Success.

Michelle & Gail are the Major Tasters & Blenders. This year we had two food processors so things went really quickly, but we also had a shocking amount of de-stemmed surf left over. I don't know if we ran out of jars or lids or energy.  But for sure we got too many flats of leaves. Oi!!

Well, this was before the left-over stage. There was a big bag of basil, a similar one of cilantro,  one of of watercress, and a small one of dill.

But the scale of our processing has evolved to THIS look!!

As usual, I got caught up in majik.... the chair, the jars, the tablecloth....

This is a double ikat weave with multiple colors [sic] quite unusual. Before dinner we talked about the possibility of a red wine spill, which did happen. I hope the spill-treatment worked!

Cast of characters:

George on the de-temming crew.
Teyah... oh, lordy, how to spell, I know that's only close! She worked all over.

Ian with a bit of sausage and one of the aprons that made the rounds. De-stemmer & host.

Michelle, filling jars, also taster & blender.

Gail in a favorite apron that I made, & stamped on with great kitchen tools, & gave her. Hostess, taster, blender, etc.

Mave, who dropped in & stayed. We taught at Charles Dickens School together for a year.  

Lesley, Jay, Max & Reed dropped in & provided diversion. This is Jay & Reed.

Lesley taking a break.

Leslie with Max eating beans grown in Leslie's garden. We ate them for supper.

Erica in the traveling apron with Reed.

Leslie, 4 days into the South Beach Diet. She said she was feeling a bit tired from it & with it! She knew some teacher-folks from the BCTF in common with Mave.

Mave's daughter, Keira, came for dinner. She's doing a master's at UBC in counseling psych, so she & Leslie had sharings about that.

And Yolande, french teacher to both Gail & me, photographer, Artist in Our Midst cohort with me, she stopped in briefly after we bumped into her on the Drive.

And I... my jobs were de-stemming & washing & spinning & bagging some of the batches of leaves. I also made 4 loaves of bread for the gathering.

Our dinner: ravioli with basil pesto, linguini with tomato pesto, salmon, eggplant baked with ginger, string beans, salad, & done before the rain, which was good because we ate outside on the back porch.

Our sustenance during the work: bread with duhkah, sausage, cucumbers, marinated mushrooms, and various trial blends from the kitchen.

And did I mention wine? Some People started wine Right Off The Bat, while others were More Restrained, or Very Restrained [Leslie]. But wine and beer were a lovely part of the day.

Merriment was had by all.
That's it for the day.


  1. Surf=stuff!... ah autocorrect, you really have to stay on top of that!!

  2. Love the pictures and story. Sorry we didn't get to stay longer and help, but you know two 2.5 yr olds keep us busy enough. love love.

  3. I would like a copy of that photo of Erica and Reed. Would you send me one?
    Great photos overall.