This did pose a most singular problem for me, which was what to do for food. Some of you may also know that my mother is the best cook in the known universe, which...Jesus, I have parents who are alive and in love, who love and respect me to the highest, and who spoil me with amazing, healthy cooking. It's like they were actively conspiring to make me a shitty writer. Good thing I make bad choices and carry a hidden trove of insecurities, or I'd be fucked. It's not like I'm good at anything else.
Buckle up, guys. This is gonna be a weird one.
With a hunger beginning to rumble in my belly, I decided that it was time to do some cooking. We have been hosting a great bush of basil this entire summer, which I promised myself in the spring I would turn into more pesto than previous years. I only did it once, and it was the day that I cooked the recipe you're about to read, which took place after almost the entire plant had died and become shitty. But that still beats my record of zero pestos made from last year, so my honor remains intact as far as pesto-related promises are concerned.
I then made the ambitious decision to mix that pesto with mushrooms and ground turkey to ladle on top of pasta, because I apparently needed the reminder as to why I am not a culinary go-getter.
So...here's that, I guess.
- some amount of basil
- ?oz of garlic
- more than zero parts extra virgin olive oil
- at least a few walnuts
- less than a ton of Parmesan cheese
- a box of linguini
- between 1 and 1 containers of mushrooms
- a container of ground turkey
Already, this ingredient list seems daunting. I see now in hindsight why so much went wrong.
All right, well, first make the pesto. "It's the easiest thing in the world!" your pretentious cooking friends might say. Granted, it is easy as hell as far as recipes go. It's one of those sauces that will impress your guests with the least amount of effort, with the added bonus of giving everyone the fanciest foul breath you could offer.
First, go buy some basil. This is advice that I should have followed, because the basil my mom grew was in pretty rough shape. Apparently, an owner of a basil plant is supposed to manage their plant with regular and vigilant pruning to keep it from flowering, at which point it will produce no more tasty leaves. Or something. This, of course, never happened in my house, because we are not farmers, so I began my basil hunt by ripping off flowers and trying to pick the leaves that were still super green. There were about four leaves fitting those standards, so I just grabbed anything that wasn't yet crunchy and dead.
I picked four cups of basil because that's what the first online recipe I clicked on told me to do. An unpleasant smell arose from my bowl of herb, and I suspected that it might be the stems that I'd ended up with in my act of half-assed leaf plucking. After spending some time lovingly (read: still half-assedly) cutting off stems, I realized that it was not the stems, but the less-than-green leaves. They don't smell very good.
Drive home and get your very small amount of remaining cash, then go back to the store because you still have no food. If you want the recipe to be especially delicious, make sure that you lost your ID with your debit card and that you look under 30 (if you're me, under 21, according to most bouncers), because what adds that certain je ne sais quoi to this meal is the socially awkward rage you feel when you have to stand on your tippy-toes to peer over the signs in the liquor store window to make sure that the lady working is the one who won't ID you. This recipe relies on chance: if the lady is working, then go buy some $6 white wine, because that's all you can afford after buying food. If she is not, then I might suggest robbery. Otherwise, be sober, you pussy.
Okay, back to food. It's time to cook the pasta. If you're anything like me, you grabbed the box of linguini that was for whatever reason very weakly secured shut, so it spills everywhere once you take it out of the grocery bag.
While the pasta becomes al dente-licious (for those of your foregoing the cat treatment), mix the ground turkey, the mushrooms, and your smelly pesto sauce in a bowl together. If it looks right, it should look like vomit; as my mom always says, "The best foods look like vomit." No, really. She says that. Think she's wrong? Look at chili.
Again, if you're like me, you have no eye for portion sizes, so instead of trying to estimate how much you'll actually eat, you just mix all of it and dump it into pan, only to realize that the pan you chose is way too small to fit all of your food, of which there is hilariously too much of.
At this point, you are probably wondering why you're still angry and full of resentment towards your meal. Let me guess--you're still wearing pants, or some movement-constricting high-waisted skirt. If you are, get rid of that shit immediately. You will feel instantly better.
The pros of your meal barely outweigh the cons you accrued while trying to make it, so at this point, you're probably feeling pretty down on yourself, which is not a feeling you want to have while you're standing in your kitchen alone and semi-drunk in your underwear. Cheer up with a photo shoot with your cat.
The last step in this recipe is to wait a few weeks until you're emotionally recovered from your overly ambitious cooking endeavor, then drink half a bottle of champagne and write about your experience. That is the Johanna way.