Saturday, July 7, 2007


Tonight for dinner we had turkey and bleu cheese burgers and roasted fresh asparagus, along with various leftovers, including some potato salad my mom had sent back with me when I went over to visit the other day. I bought the asparagus at the farmer's market here. It's the really thin kind, and reminds me of when I first ate asparagus.

I don't think I ever ate asparagus as a child, not once. I studied in Iowa one summer, and someone there told me that wild asparagus grew in the ditches. To prove it, we went out and picked some. Not many years later, I was living in the parsonage in South Dakota, when one of my parish members knocked on the door with a gift. That was not unusual. People were always bringing over jam, or green beans, or pickles (once deer sausage, even). But this was also: wild asparagus, from the ditches.

I didn't know how to prepare asparagus then, but learned an easy way, especially for a single person who only needed a little at a time: roasted in olive oil, in the oven. Temperature: 450, for 10 minutes. Then shake on the salt and pepper, and it's delicious. It's my husband's favorite vegetable now. We also have learned to stir-fry it, and toss with toasted sesame seeds. That's good too.

A little later tonight we'll have desert: ice cream with fresh raspberries. For these raspberries I neither sowed nor reaped. They arrived at the front door unasked for, courtesy of a parish member who lives down the street. She brings them every July.

Sometimes I try so hard I am tempted to believe that working justifies my existence. Everyone else is saved by grace through faith; not me. It's how hard I work that matters. I can't be a slacker. I can't have a bad day, or write a mediocre sermon. Wild asparagus in the ditches, fresh raspberries at the front door remind me that isn't true. We are not what we do, only useful for the hours we put in, and what we produce.

Lord, give us this day our daily bread, and asparagus, and raspberries. Amen.


Barbara B. said...

I can't be a slacker either, but you're right: "we are not what we do". (And I am going to try fixing asparagus your way! Sounds yummy!)

Anonymous said...


trinity thoughts said...
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mompriest said...

Some days I just feel so tired or dried up that a "slacker" is all I can be. Not by intent or desire, just that's it. When that happens I have to hope that, by the grace of God, who I am as priest, wife, mother, friend, speaks through the dryness and carries through until the season leaves and I feel flush and fruitful again.

I love aparagus roasted in olive oil. It's good on the grill too, brushed with olive oil.

Do you have another poem you want to post? Or should I? Or maybe someone else?

Diane said...

I know how you feel, Mompriest. I just feel so guilty when I'm a slacker. Right now my family wants lunch, but I need a NAP after two services and hospital. So we're ordering out.

Jan said...

Diane, thank you for visiting my blog and commenting frequently.

I didn't start eating asparagus until the past decade. I've only boiled it and will have to try fixing it your way. That sounds good!

ann.markle said...

Oh, yes, asparagus is my favorite food, and I love it roasted. I have it growing in my garden now, and aside from the occasional weed, and I throw on some compost and/or manure in the springtime, it's completely maintenance free. I just cut 2 more spears today -- added to what I had in my fridge, it'll make a great dinnertime veggie. I always loved asparagus, even when my mom used to heat those limp, olive-colored spears out of a can. It was a rare treat. A friend of mine says that we should roast all our veggies -- that kids would eat them if we did! I agree -- last night I roasted some baby carrots and onions along with my potatoes, and YUM. It really brings out the natural sugars in the veggies.

Anonymous said...

Nice page design to you as well -
Love asparagus cooked that way with lemon olive oil and lemon zest tossed in with sea salt and coarse ground pepper - YUM

zorra said...

...and fresh cherries too, amen!
What precious gifts from the God who loves us.

I grew up on Green Giant canned asparagus, which I liked very much as a child. The first time I ate fresh asparagus was a revelation!

Diane said...

Elastigirl, thanks for the tip. Lemonzest from now on!

Marsha said...

I love asparagus. I sometimes roast it as you do. I also like it lightly sauteed in olive oil with a bit of minced onion, minced garlic, lemon juice or zest (or even without the onion / garlic). Sometimes I saute it in olive oil with halved cherry tomatoes then top with good parmesan cheese shavings. It's also fantastic in omelets or salads (I use leftover in omelets or blanch it to use in salads). Very healthy and delicious and so many easy ways to prepare it. I never ate it as a child either.