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Saturday, October 10, 2009

Welcome back asparagus

In Hobart, in winter, it rains like a monsoon. It rains sideways, and sometimes even up from the ground. An umbrella is useless protection from the downpour. Gumboots are no Kate-Moss-at-Glastonbury styled fashion statement, they are a necessity that enables one to walk 500 meters from the front door to the bus stop. We complain about the cold, and spend extra time at the pubs with open fires to save on the heating bill while snow falls on the mountain like icing sugar onto a cup cake.

We rug up and wait for winter to end, but when it seems like it never will a glittering weekend of sunshine will drag us from hibernation and back into our neglected gardens. Fresh asparagus at the market on a Saturday will mean summer is finally on the way. It means smoked salmon, poached eggs and asparagus for breakfast, always eaten outdoors.

For the next 4-5 months most meals will be garnished with lemon, and I will buy a a bottle of Bombay and a slab of tonic to celebrate. And then I will buy another one.

Laundry will dry before it has even left the basket and people I haven't seen for years will come back to Hobart for a season. It only takes 16 degrees and we will all wear shorts, lily white legs poking out to catch the sunshine. It will be taken for granted that every day will be sunny, and no one will pay attention to the weather report unless someone mentions it will be hot enough to go swimming, although the water will always be freezing.

At the beginning of the season we will pick a local and stay loyal. Magner's Cider will be the order of the day. Pint glass, wedge of orange. Only the uninitiated have lemon.

Seafood really is fresh off the boat, and no one will buy it from the supermarket. Saturdays will mean a trip to the market followed by a trip to the wharf, and I will suddenly spend more time with my friends who own barbeques.

I have no idea what I am going to do with my asparagus yet, I just like having it. It's just the right kind of green. Asparagus green. It is a thing of beauty.

Hello spring. Welcome back asparagus.


Stephen Estcourt said...

"A loaf of bread," the Walrus said,
"Is what we chiefly need;
Pepper and vinegar besides
Are very good indeed—
Now if you're ready, Oysters dear,
We can begin to feed."

Very beautiful food prose Nola.

penny aka jeroxie said...

I wish I could be puying fresh seafood off the boats! Sounds fab...
I love my asparagus with a simple achovies dressing. YUmmmmm!

lemon curd said...

What a lovely posting - I look forward to this time of year in Hobart, everything springing to life again, the sun excitedly getting our hopes up...

One disagreement though, and really only one of proportion - I'll take a slab of bombay and a bottle of tonic!

sammin said...

Yum fresh asparagus, poached egg and hollandiase or steamed with butter, salt & pepper.
Tanquaray (have I spelt that correctly?), tonic and Meyer lemon off the tree for me!!!

Lisa said...

What a lyrical post. Asparagus season is way behind us now, though we can buy imported at a premium to hit the craving.

I agree with Penny: Wish I could buy fresh seafood off the boats.