Asparagus is one of those vegetables commanding respect in the grocery store. They stand upright in bunches boasting portly or svelte stalks (my favorite) with unique heads, that when looked at overhead resemble a type of berry.
They also challenge the novice cook to maximize flavor and reduce the “stalkiness” of texture, so people don’t feel like they’re flossing while eating.
In a word, they seem “unapproachable.” Onlookers take sideways glances, trying to figure out what to do with them.
Sometimes I think we do this with people. We see them from a distance and try to figure out the best way to approach them…wrapping ourselves up in our own insecurities, replete with a chocolate brown silk organza bow.
That’s why I like this photograph so much. The bunch I picked out to take pictures of at a recent workshop is imperfect, with a broken stalk in the lower corner. A good reminder that everyone lacks the sheen of perfection. So why do we stand on the outskirts of the pedestals we’ve created for everyone else?
We all have something to share, something to say. We all want validation, to be heard, to be noticed. And not everyone is as mysterious and complex as we think.
Asparagus, while seemingly complex, is actually straightforward and like putty in your hands when you pay a little attention to it. Trim the ends, peel the outer layer, steam, grill, blanch or saute, add a little Kosher or Sea Salt and a little pepper, some Olive Oil, and a bit of lemon juice before serving, and you’ve got what could possibly be your favorite vegetable.
If you have someone in your life that seems unapproachable, pay a little attention to them and you may discover they aren’t as complex as you think.