I'm not sure what's come over me today. One moment, I'm flipping around Google, looking for a basic pesto recipe, and two hours later, I find myself still in front of the screen, staring at a Genoese instructional video for the 15th time in a row, watching a hairy, disembodied forearm pound the hell out of some basil. It can't be the beauty of the food, particularly – the finished paste looks more like day-old guacamole than it does like the glossy pesto we're all used to, although I'm sure the fragrance is glorious – and it's probaby not the scratchy, Victrola-quality choral music on the soundtrack. The food-porn aspect has been mentioned, although I strongly suspect that the maestro, one Eugenio Torre, is a paunchy old guy in a stained undershirt.

But Torre's worn, marble mortar has the solidity, the hewn-rock presence of an old baptismal font, the fluidity of movement is astonishing, and there is an almost mystical sense of purpose, that the leaves, the garlic, the pine nuts and cheese are going to be worked until they are done. There are worse ways to spend an afternoon… please excuse me while I see if there's any basil left on the plant downstairs in the kitchen.

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