In light of the fact that there are people who have allergies that no longer allow them to eat bread…and others who have had to cut dairy out of their lives entirely, what I’m about to tell you isn’t technically that tragic:
I am allergic to fresh basil.
When I first started using fresh basil in my cooking, about seven years ago, it was love at first bite. But looking back, I realize I’ve been slowly moving through the five stages of grief with my beloved basil.
When I first started using fresh basil, I realized that my wrists would be strangely itchy after I’d finish cooking. That’s weird…I thought…Could I be allergic to basil?…No! Who’s allergic to herbs? That’s crazy. And then I’d make another batch of fresh corn salad with basil.
But as time went on, and I’d make another batch of pizza rolls sprinkled in fresh, chopped basil, and thyme, the itching got worse, and soon spread to my jaw line too. It got kind of intense. I remember telling Eric, “How can I be allergic to fresh basil? This is ridiculous. I just discovered it after all these years! How could it turn on me like this?”
Then I started experimenting to really test the depths of this so-called “allergy.” I thought, Surely, if I give up FRESH basil and cook with it, bake it, that will help. But even after baking it onto this farmer’s market summer pizza, I was itchy. And then, What about dill? I hate dill! Why couldn’t it be dill?!?!
As I started to think about all the things that fresh basil makes amazing…fresh pesto, caprese salads, and especially bruschetta, the love of my life – I got pretty mopey. I kind of started to feel like summer had no purpose outside of basil…really, what’s the point?
It got especially bad when just being around fresh basil in someone else’s kitchen was enough to make my cheeks start itching. And that’s when I knew…I can’t fight this. Now I’m at the point of just praying the allergy doesn’t spread to other herbs. I mean, I might just shut down if cilantro ever makes me itchy.
So, this is my public farewell to basil…fresh, and even in dishes like this roasted vegetable cheesy pasta bake.
Goodbye, my Basil. Goodbye.