Positive Power of Pesto to Produce a Memory, Presto!

In Blog by Shannon CochranLeave a Comment

The driver-sidmake pesto prestoe door of our red Acura Integra hung open as the engine hummed quietly. Standing between the door and car, so as not to leave it unattended in a TAMU loading zone (notorious for tucking yellow envelopes on windshields for parking violators), he stood.

Although I expected to see him waiting outside the Read building to pick me up as usual, I didn’t anticipate what he held in his hands . . .

A dozen red roses.

Two cookbooks.

One Hallmark card.

And how can I not mention the speech?

On Valentine’s Day 2000, my husband surprised me with a thoughtful and memorable gift. Elated was I to receive those cookbooks. For in a few months, you see, we would move out of my in-laws’ home where we lived for 15 months until we graduated from college. We were married. Attending and commuting to Texas A&M University 4-5 days/week. We had an almost one-year old son.

I looked forward to reopening my wedding gifts—pots, pans, bowls, dishes—and that cookie jar that had been packed away in boxes for 18 months. Eagerly I longed to make a home for my husband and son in our own space. My heart longed to cook for my family in my own apartment kitchen. Soon that would become my reality.

My husband’s practical gift spelled L-O-V-E to me. It echoed the joy we shared as we anticipated next steps and new milestones for our family.

Fast forward time more than a decade. I stand amazed at the power of a symbol. It stuns me to think that opening the Best Ever Vegetarian Cookbook to make Pesto last Friday hearkened me back to the loading zone of a college building and brought back a cherished memory.

How it astounds me that I can stand in my home kitchen over 13 years later. Pulse 2 parts fresh basil for 1 part each of pine nuts and EVOO. That I can add by tablespoon Parmesan cheese and season to taste with the essential S & P.

Isn’t it strange that almost mindless acts—measure, pour, drizzle, sprinkle, pulse, process—can take you back. Waaay back.

To make you feel loved.

To remind you of a gift.

To relive a sweet memory.

Wow, the power of a symbol to transport you back to a gift of old-time. Just like that—Presto!

Even as I write you this story, I return to my young-married-and-in-college life. My heart re-flutters at that special surprise. I open my cookbook and re-read my hubby’s love letter to me tucked inside a red (thankfully not yellow parking ticket) envelope. Wow, the power of a symbol to recount a memory!

Note: The pesto recipe I made from The Best-Ever Vegetarian Cookbook, Nicola Graimes was easy to make in the food processor and delicious. It tasted delectable spread on spelt pizza dough topped with salmon, garlic, artichoke hearts, Kalamata olives, and mozzarella and feta cheese.

Fancy for pizza, yes. And a great way to use my leftover wild Alaskan salmon that I served last Wednesday. Best of all, it pleased my hubby and family.

Joyful, happy cooking and savoring memories, my friends. May the Lord remind you of a specific symbol this week that reminds you that you’re loved eternally by God. Should you waver or doubt, I pray the Lord will hearken you back to the practical gift of the cross and the precious memory of Him—Presto!

Let me hear from you! What is a meaningful symbol in your life that hearkens you back to relive a sweet memory from old time? I’d love to hear your thoughts and/or story in the comments.

Shannon Cochran

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