Oh yeah, it’s my birthday, it’s my birthday, oh yeah!!

So, it’s not really my birthday, but it IS the LAST day of school. I don’t think I’ve been this excited about it since I was in 4th grade. Even then, I don’t know if I was as excited as I am today.

For the last week and a half I’ve been substituting for Gus’ teacher.  I have enjoyed it, but it has wreaked havoc on my life of leisure. The house has been in shambles, and I feel as though we are running from one place to the next, and we can never get ahead.  I know some people have to live like this, and some even choose to, but not me. A disorderly house is something I choose not to tolerate, and it drives me nuts when I lose control of mine. I also like to be punctual, and when I get too busy or over-obligated, I feel angst about the possibility of being late. It creates a sense of heightened stress. I am sure blood vessels begin popping in my eyes, neck, or elsewhere just thinking about it. I lose the ability to digest certain foods, and my appetite is gone. I’m not sure if things have been uncommonly busy the last two weeks, or if it just seems that way because I have been working, but I feel like we have been running around crazy. I am very excited to be finished today, and a half day at that! I am so glad, it makes me want to sing. So, here’s a little ode to a “favorite” tune-5555:

Spargel, I love you….Spargel, I dooo. I love to eat you, you know that it’s true….

Which brings us to the next topic. Spargel, or asparagus. I’m not talking about the green kind. I’m referring to the pleasant, plump, white kind found all over the area at this time of year.  It is only available in the spring, and very early summer, and its time is almost over. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’ve never seen it grown locally in the US.  Even here, they import it from Greece and other countries.  But the best kind, according to my German friend, is the German variety. She will only buy German spargel.  The Germans harvest their Spargel according to the calendar. All harvesting must stop by a specific date, or else..dun dun dun….total world annihilation, or something like that….(Sometimes the Germans have WAY too many rules about things). I think that with enough Hollandaise sauce, you can’t taste what country it comes from.

I first fell in love with Spargel about 8 years ago when I ordered it at a restaurant here in Germany. But this year was the first time I purchased and prepared it on my own. It is quite expensive (the German variety) and very addictive, and I think, a bit mysterious. How do they grow it? I’ve heard that it is grown under cover like spouts, or buried in soil, like leeks. I never see Spargel out in the field growing. Hmmm. Anyway, there are some differences with preparation, no matter how it is grown and harvested.

First, unlike its green cousin, bigger is better. The thicker the stalk, the easier and better. Second, you have to peel the skin. Start just under the head, and go all the way down. Make sure to get all the peel off. You don’t have to go very deep, but be through.  Any missed skin will be tough and inedible, like eating shreds of bamboo chopsticks. Trim a bit, about 1/2 inch, off the bottom of the stalk, and boil in water until tender. Drain well and serve. I like to douse my Spargel with Hollandaise sauce, but perhaps a little butter, salt, pepper and chives would suffice. Often it is served with thin slices of Parma ham, or other salted ham.  The Germans even have specific ‘Spargel’ potatoes that they eat together with the Spargel. I don’t know what the difference is between the Spargel potatoes and regular potatoes. But now that school is done, maybe I’ll have time to figure it out.

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