I planted some basil plants this spring, and now they’re quite robust so last week I harvested some fresh basil and made pesto. Delicious! But according to Clarence Rosario also fraught with hidden risks:
A small minority of pine nuts can cause taste disturbances, developing 1-3 days after consumption and lasting for days or weeks. A bitter, metallic taste is described. Though very unpleasant, there are no lasting effects. This phenomenon was first described in a scientific paper in 2001. Some publications have made reference to this phenomenon as “pine mouth”. This is a relatively new phenomenon and appears to be most common in nuts coming from China.
This seems like a pretty clever plot by Chinese intelligence to cripple America’s elite classes. What’s more, our politicians seem unlikely to do anything about the threat. Can you imagine the scorn Sarah Palin would heap on Barack Obama if he spoke publicly about the risk of adulturated pesto? I can imagine the Hardball segment now: “Tip O’Neal never ate pesto!” Damn straight. Apparently once upon a time, the United States wasn’t dependent on risky imports of foreign pine nuts but bad forest management has eroded our productive capacity.