Asparagus & Aspirations

Every spring, I consider asparagus all over again.  I really like asparagus but I don’t love it the way I do, say, fresh corn on the cob or pickled beets or a really beautiful mixed salad with everything but the kitchen sink – and carrots, because unless you’re making a carrot salad, who puts carrots in a salad?? – thrown into the salad bowl.  So every spring, when fresh local asparagus comes on the scene, I buy it and take it home and we’ll have asparagus at least twice a week for about six weeks or so.


My go-to way to prepare it is steamed, and then quickly dressed with butter & lemon, a little sea salt and the pepper goes to Jeff (because I refuse to put pepper on fresh vegetables – and no, I don’t want to have a debate about this. Even my mother stopped putting pepper on veggies when I came to dinner!)

butter lemons

Doesn’t it all look yummy, those happy separate parts, just waiting for each other to combine into a delicious part of a healthy, local, fresh meal? So why, every spring, am I just a tiny little bit disappointed that it’s not… more?

Oh, I try to shake it up a bit.  Sometimes I’ll steam the asparagus, let it cool & then dress it with a tart little balsamic vinaigrette and a few thin, thin slices of sweet onions.  Or I’ll break up the asparagus into smaller pieces and make an omelette with them, a little feta cheese and some chives.  This year I’ve pan roasted the asparagus and served it with chunks of chevre and a splash of EVOO. It’s all quite good but it’s still not… more.

This evening, as I contemplated the bundle of happy little green spears in my crisper, wrapped in damp paper towel, waiting for me to turn them into something wonderful for supper tomorrow, I got to thinking about… more.  I got to thinking about what I really meant when I said… more.  What was missing that I felt that more was required?  Was this mood about maybe something more than just asparagus?

My aspirations for the past couple of years have been to finish my collection of short stories, to make a better blogger of myself, to take up the novel I started about five years ago when I was still with GTF in Meaford and finish the damn thing (worrying about whether or not I could actually use the name Piglet for my little boy character after some brilliant publisher decided to buy it, not before the ms was done).  I have not met my own aspirations in any of these regards and I think I’m angry with myself.

Not disappointed.  Angry.  I can do better.  I should do better.  Yoda said it best, didn’t he?  “Do or do not. There is no try.”

Because, you see, what I was doing was trying.  I would write a story, and hate it, and throw it away.  I would work on a couple of chapters of the book, and hate them, and throw them away.  I wasn’t letting them sink in, I wasn’t letting anyone (not even my writers’ group which has read several stories) see them, I wasn’t going back and finding what was good and using that to build something… more.

I have been considering my aspirations in the way I have asparagus.  I have simply been accepting what’s good and taking that for granted, not making more out of it.  I know I can write, just like I know I can cook. What I have failed to do is make the very best of either skill.  So Yoda,  I will make a brilliant asparagus dish this spring.  I will get more work done on my stories through this weekend and finally finish the first dozen to send back to my kind and direct cousin.  I will live up to who and what I want to be, using both skills.  Because I will be… more.

woman at stove typing hands


4 thoughts on “Asparagus & Aspirations

  1. One of Spain’s largest exports are asparagus, both white and green. The white are traditionally served cold with dollops of mayo and the green…. well, they are delicious raw – taste like raw peas – and if you have tried them, they are delicious grilled. They are widely popular here grilled. I love going to a restaurant and ordering a plate of grilled veggies — onions, tomatoes, peppers of all colours, asparagus, eggplant, onion, little green onions ………..

    • Do you know, one hardly ever sees white asparagus here at all, unless one goes to a specialty greengrocer. One misses it. One sounds ass-up-stick writing like this, doesn’t one? Thanks for the suggestion about the mayo. I am going to try it, as I’ve now had 2 people tell me how delicious. Homemade mayo, of course. I also adore a mess of grilled veggies, served on the side with what a young friend of ours calls “squeaky” cheese, or haloumi, as it’s known by most people. It’s a kind of goat cheese, meant for grilling, quite delectable.

  2. I love asparagus…….and I love your stories……keep writing…..and…..tomorrow, try asparagus my way…….steamed green asparagus, served warm and topped with a tablespoon of good mayonnaise and chopped hard boiled egg…….enjoy!

    • This is why I love having friends from all over, not just my “backyard” as it were, because they teach me things all the time!! Another friend – this one Canadian-Sponish – suggested mayo as well so… I’m going to MAKE some mayo (because I suspect North American commercial is not what either of you has in mind) and will give it a try. I promise to let you know about the entire meal. And thank you, Rosie, for the so kind words about my stories and essays. I do keep trying, and I do love doing it.

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