May 23, 2024

Asparagus season

There is an asparagus farm a stone’s throw away from our house, and every spring, I’m so thankful that it’s there.

I didn’t grow up eating asparagus; it wasn’t something that was easily put in a curry—at least, not in my grandmother’s recipes—so I came to the vegetable later in my young adulthood. I can’t say I was immediately smitten with it; it was only after trying fresh, local, in-season asparagus, lightly roasted, that I truly began to appreciate its virtues.

Asparagus season in Ontario is short, and while we sometimes seek it out at other times of the year at the grocery store (usually imported from elsewhere), the majority of our asparagus consumption happens in May and June when we can take the short walk to the farm down the street. The woman who runs the farm stand starts recognizing me after my first few visits of the season, and is enthusiastic about their crop every year.

Mostly, we just prepare the asparagus by roasting it—with a little bit of olive oil and salt and pepper—or by grilling it on the barbecue. Occasionally, we add some grated Parmesan when we are roasting to add a little bit of umami to the side dish.

We’ve also discovered a few recipes that we like that feature asparagus—mostly in stir fries and dishes of that sort. Yesterday, we had an asparagus pasta dish with lemon cream sauce. And after asking on Threads and Mastodon, I’ve been sent a few recipes for asparagus soup, asparagus tahini pasta, and asparagus-egg salad, too.

I didn’t mean to write a vegetable appreciation post, but let’s just say that I’ve been inspired by this bunch of asparagus on my kitchen counter. If you’re anywhere that it’s in season, go seek some out. And if you find any good recipes, please do share! We’ve still got a couple more weeks of asparagus season left, leaving time for a few more visits to the farm.

A poem

For My Wife, Reading in Bed
John Glenday

I know we’re living through all the dark we can afford.
I’ll match your inward quiet, breath for breath.
Thank goodness, then, for this moment’s light
What else do we have but words and their absences
and you, holding the night at bay
— a hint of frown,
those focussed hands, that open book.
to bind and unfasten the knotwork of the heart;
to remind us how mutual and alone we are, how tiny
and significant? Whatever it is you are reading now
my love, read on. Our lives depend on it.

It’s possible to have strong, lasting regrets about a life choice while ferociously loving—and caring for—the fruit of that decision.”R.O. Kwon on the parents who regret having children. A powerful, sobering essay with some deep personal stories. Worth a read whether you have kids or don’t.

A beautiful rumination on walking: The Ambling Mind:

To walk, then, is to inhabit a fitting scale and speed. It is the scale and speed at which our bodies are able to find their fit in the world, and the world rewards us by spurring our thinking and disclosing itself to us. Perhaps this is the deeper fitness we should actually be after.

I dream of one day writing one sentence as masterfully and evocatively as any sentence Wesley Morris has ever put to print. This passage, from a conversation about Challengers, is a perfect example of his virtuosity:

If sports are vital to our cultural health, it could be because, as you surmise, they’re philosophy-proof. But also perhaps because they’re philosophy-ridden: a proving ground and microcosm of so much that defines us as a species — how do we collaborate, strategize, obey, perceive, communicate, conform, transcend, sacrifice, strive, pay attention (but not too much attention), fail, recover, lose again, compete; how do we believe in each other and in ourselves. And sometimes — usually, in a few sports — the avatars within that microcosm are gorgeous and weird.

Zadie Smith muses on ethics and morality and voice:

To send the police in to arrest young people peacefully insisting upon a ceasefire represents a moral injury to us all. To do it with violence is a scandal.

I’ve always had an issue with the do what you love” rhetoric. Joan Westenberg sums it up succinctly:

The passion economy is a scam. It shifts the burden of financial stability onto the individual, letting corporations off the hook. It romanticizes the idea of turning hobbies into income streams, glossing over the realities of burnout and exploitation.

Paul Ford writing about anything is a delight. This piece on generative AI is worth a read:

What I love, more than anything, is the quality that makes AI such a disaster: If it sees a space, it will fill it–with nonsense, with imagined fact, with links to fake websites. It possesses an absolute willingness to spout foolishness, balanced only by its carefree attitude toward plagiarism. AI is, very simply, a totally shameless technology.

Two excellent celebrity profiles that I’ve recently enjoyed: Albert Brooks (didn’t know much about his career before reading this), and Daniel Radcliffe (been a fan of his since Swiss Army Man).

I didn’t eat an avocado until I was an adult, but the humble fruit has now taken over all our diets, including that of infants learning to take their first bites.

I haven’t been following the Kendrick-Drake beef, but I really enjoyed this ranking of great diss tracks through hip hop history.

Tim Hortons is brewing an idea of Canada that no longer exists.

Straight men still find it strange to say I love you” to their friends—even though it’s so important to let those we love know that we do.

Anyone in France want to get a hold of a sheet of these scratch-and-sniff baguette stamps and send them to me? I’m happy to pay for the stamps and postage for sending them my way.

Set of four stamps from France featuring an illustration of a baguette wrapped in a bow

I just miss humans driving what I see, no matter how quirky the content ends up being.” Like Cassidy, I miss the days of human curation, when people I know and admire would share things that piqued their interest. It’s what I try to do here; please share with me if you’re doing the same!

Get weekend reading posts in your inbox: subscribe to the pretty irregular newsletter.

→ weekend reading → links → poetry → reflection