I can be a little coarse sometimes. I think there’s a difference between being nice and being kind, and often those two things work together perfectly, but I can stumble into the latter while forgetting the formalities of the former. I think many people are put off by me when they first meet me, because I am quickly bored of pleasantries and prefer to hear what someone really thinks.

Winter does not make me easier to be around. I looked out the window today and noticed that the trees are finally bare, really bare, spindly and stark. It’s dark by 4:30 and people are ducking indoors much more quickly. We’re all a little snarly, because that’s where our honesty is these days, and we dare ourselves to be nice to other people, because way back in our shivering heads we know we’re all we’ve got.

Last week every food magazine was wetting itself over Thanksgiving. Somehow this year it all seemed overblown to me. It was too nice. I wanted kind, I wanted simple. (Thanksgiving at Laura and David’s was wonderfully so.) The most fulfilling meals I’ve had lately have been made by people who don’t work themselves into a frenzy cooking for me, the foodie who knows what she’s talking about. I’ve been eating dinner made by friends who burned part of it, put the carrots in at the wrong time, served two dishes with completely different flavor profiles. And you know what? I loved them. I loved the food and I loved the people who made it for me. When you overcome a fear of not being nice, all you are left with is kindness.

This is food from me: this is coarse and this is kind. It has three ingredients and it is pungent and unafraid, but it needs support and love to round it out. It looks like green goop. I don’t care. I’m not going to get all Donna Hay on you. It’s amazing and nourishing. Not in the way that spinach is nourishing. I love spinach, but spinach needs a little help to taste great. I eat this and my body says thank you as much as my tastebuds do, because it hits every note. Put a tablespoon or two in pasta with some goat cheese, and serve it to someone who may not otherwise understand that you are kind.

Garlic Chive Pesto
makes 1 quart

1 pound garlic chives or wild garlic
1 cup sunflower oil
coarse salt to taste

Roughly chop the garlic chives, then put them in the food processor with 1/4 cup oil and 1 tablespoon salt. With processor running, add enough oil to make a loose pesto, then check for seasoning. You may not need a full cup of oil, but you will almost certainly want more salt.

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