I don’t know what day of the week it is anymore. All the days and weeks are beginning to blend together. I look forward to the reassuring regularity of our homemade pizza on Friday night, but how else are we marking our time in lockdown? I’m streaming Grey’s Anatomy re-runs – back to the beginning when Sandra Oh injected some much-missed tough love – so I don’t even know what decade it is. The garden is burgeoning, but it has been an odd rainy week so I haven’t gotten outside much. It’s just me and Luke the wonder dog, taking our walks, staring at each other, as I sit cross hatching away at the drawing table every day. Then Mr. Friday comes home for dinner, and somehow we scape together meals and have conversations. We are feeling adrift. (I speak for myself, Luke seems happy except for the walks in the rain. As long as the kibble is produced twice a day he is content. And he prefers Patrick Dempsey to Sandra Oh.)
To break up the boredom of our four walls, carefully masked, we ventured to the local farmers’ market last Saturday, and got an eyeful of what is going on in the big wide world – it is strawberry season. Beautiful emerald asparagus is shooting up. Parakeet-green basil is bursting. We saw something splendid called watermelon radishes – which were a major discovery: beige on the outside, inside bright fuchsia pink and white. They were beautiful to look at, disappointingly bland and tough to eat, and surprisingly stinky when quick pickled.
The farmers’ seasons are relentless, cyclical and constant, and I hope the coronavirus can’t stop that. The beautiful colors, shapes and flavors of these just picked fruits and vegetables are astounding. The person on the other side of the market table can tell me when the vegetable was picked, and who picked it. You can’t process this experience with chemicals and put it in a can on a shelf at the grocery store. You need to bring your bag down to your market, and taste for yourself. It’s just like your mother always said, it is good for you. So get out in the sunshine and get ready for summer. Even with the restraints imposed by social distancing there was a lot of cheery bustle at the market last week. It was good to see people – even though we are all masked and unidentifiable. Thank goodness. If you could see my hair right now…
Saturday we will buzz down to the farmer’s market again, and will stock up on more asparagus for our Memorial Day Weekend. Of course we will be flipping burgers, as is only fitting for the traditional beginning of summer. Only this year we won’t have a crowd. It will be just us, waving to the neighbors over the hedge. And we will be having our own tiny Sparglefest this year. Asparagus grilled one night, broiled another, and lightly steamed on Sunday.
I hope next year we can all have family gatherings and cookouts again. This week I have bought a box of sparklers for the grownups, and we’ll wave them at the children when we have our family Zoom call. Thank heavens for technology. If we were going through this pandemic back when Grey’s Anatomy started in 2005 we’d still be communicating by land lines and flip phones. And our Netflix would be coming in the mail.
Trust the folks at Bon Appétit to have a kabillion recipes for grilling asparagus. It is the start of grilling season, after all: https://www.bonappetit.com/recipes/slideshow/asparagus-recipes
And here is Food Friday from last year with some of our favorite tried and true recipes: https://talbotspy.org/food-friday-heaps-of-asparagus/
“Good asparagus needs minimal treatment and is best eaten with few other ingredients.”