Asparagus and Salsify

Last night, when I tried to read, I kept nodding off, so gave up and went to sleep. Maybe that was too early for me, because I woke up before 5 a.m. and couldn’t drop off again. After some tossing and turning, I gave up and started reading in the morning instead. The good thing about the Kindle app on my tablet is that it doesn’t require a bedside lamp which would disturb Partner. I’m now ahead on Dombey & Son and hope to finish it by end of Friday, so that I can devote Saturday and Sunday to Beloved. I can only read that one during the day, as it is a hardback. I love Beloved, so I treated myself to one and I’ve had it for years.

Work today was not very uplifting, just the usual drudge. I’m in a slump regarding work. Hopefully things will pick up after the coming long weekend. Only one more workday, tomorrow. Thursday’s a public holiday and Friday is my regular day off. I’ve got some stuff that I’ve got to get finished this week that’s coming along fine and then next week we have some minor deadlines. Then it’s time to get cracking on the deadlines for August and September which, the earlier one gets ahead with those the better. It’ll get too hot in July and August and people will be on vacation, and things will drag. But if all one’s projects are in a good shape by the end of June, it’s tolerable.

Since tomorrow is a day before a public holiday, which always creates a run on supermarkets (worst if the upcoming holiday is Easter or Christmas, but bad in any case), I did our weekly grocery shopping today. We’re having white asparagus with new potatoes and a spring onion soy yoghurt sauce. This is our vegan version of a typical German spring meal. The classic version is white asparagus with some slices of cooked ham, potatoes and Sauce Hollandaise. White asparagus season lasts from around mid-April until June 24. This year’s problematic, because there are not as many seasonal workers around to harvest the asparagus. The corona crisis is really highlighting the importance of seasonal workers and also showing up that they often have rough living conditions. Too crowded and not enough sanitary facilities. Also, long hours and back-breaking work – I wouldn’t want to do it, I don’t think. Although I wouldn’t mind trying it out, to see if I could do it. White asparagus is dug out of the ground. It grows in long rows in raised beds and you have to dig down next to the shoots and cut them off about 10 cm underground. If they grow much above ground, more than just the tips, they grow bitter.

We used to have black salsify in our garden when I was a child. In Germany it’s sometimes called the “poor person’s asparagus”. It’s very nice (I think) but it tastes nothing like white asparagus. And it’s a winter vegetable. It grows deep roots that are a lot of work to dig up. My dad used to be responsible for digging them up. It involved a lot of expletives. One has to wear gloves when peeling the roots, as they exude a perniciously sticky milky substance that leaves brown stains on one’s hands (and everywhere else). After peeling, the roots need to be immersed in lemon water to stop them turning brown. Usually I just get Schwarzwurzel (black salsify) frozen, it’s less hassle.

Where was I? Oh yes, asparagus, tonight for dinner – very yummy.

We also had a rhubarb cake for coffee, very nice. Partner made it, he’s the backer in the family. I bake too, but not nearly as much. I’m too lazy and tend to get impatient. He’s also traditionally cooks the asparagus, as he introduced it to me. I just mixed the yoghurt sauce, as that is my specialty. Also, Partner usually does the cooking during the week and we cook together on weekends. I do the meal planning (with his input) and the grocery shopping, which he hates. Sometimes Mum cooks as well and she always cooks when we’re in Bavaria. She also almost always does the dishes (unless it’s too much, then Partner and I do it them together. We don’t use a dishwasher). A good division of labour, that works well for us.

Keep safe, world.


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