I knew for my final installment of Better Than Basics, I wanted to play with the spaghetti Western. These violent operas, often set to staggeringly beautiful music by Ennio Morricone, have captured my imagination ever since I saw Once Upon A Time In The West. A masterful epic of revenge, hidden riches and a whole lot of bad memories, it marked a change in style for director Sergio Leone. While initially a box-office flop in the United States, it, and its accompanying Morricone score, has since been recognized as a masterpiece of the Western genre. The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, another Leone film that served as inspiration for this piece, has a theme that is instantly recognizable even if you've never seen a Western.
While traditionally Westerns seem to take place in hot, arid landscapes where the size of your town depended directly on the size of your water source, what we had to work with, in contrast, was a boxful of bright, vibrant, seasonal produce from Chef's Garden. So rather than work against this bounty, I decided it would be best to incorporate as much of it as possible. The clock that clicks to noon is a slice of squash. The Spicy Radish Saloon is draped with carrot greens on its walls and the bars of the town jail are made of green beans. Radish ladies wear rustling skirts of red leaf lettuce and edible flowers in their hair. So as far as homages to Westerns go, this one is pretty lush - but also, pretty tasty. If the villainous fava bean showed up at my door, you can bet that's one bad boy I couldn't say no to.