Did you ever read the Moomin books? Moomin Mama and Moomin Papa and Snufkin and the gang? They are children’s stories by Tove Jansson, and if you’re not familiar already, you should check them out.
One of my favorite stories is The Hemulen who Loved Silence. It’s about a Hemulen (one of the Jansson creatures) who is feels overwhelmed by how loud the world is. He craves whispers and padded footsteps and shadows. I don’t want to give it all away, but it’s a very short story and you can read it all here. You’ll read it? Promise? It’s kind of a magical little tale.
Sometimes BGE and I feel like that Hemulen. We live in a loud-screaming-rumbling neighborhood. You’d think that since I grew up in a swallow-you-whole metropolis and BGE spent some years in Brookyln, we’d be fine with it. Or maybe all those years wore us out. We’d love to live in a quiet little tucked-away den, but we can’t afford to move out right now. But it’s never quiet here. Well, almost never.
Sometimes, when I’m cooking, I can’t hear anything. Everything else looses focus, save my knife on the cutting board. I guess that’s how I don’t notice the chaos of dishes piling around me, or the splatters on the stove, or BGE groaning about how loud the neighbors are.
I love that feeling. I love it because truly getting down and focusing on anything is a tremendous chore for me. BGE can sit and stare at his computer for hours and never once click away to the interwebs. I’ve had coworkers who could enter data for days, claiming that it was “soothing.” That’s never been me, unless it involved running or swimming.
But I love that nothing can distract me from this, that I can’t hear the child/pterosaur outside, or the various neighbors who announce their very small junk with their very loud cars.
What makes your world go quiet?
- 1 lb of assorted fingerling potatoes
- 3 medium beets
- 1 lb asparagus, washed and trimmed
- 1 lb spring onions, washed and trimmed (I trimmed to where the stalks split)
- 2 tbsp fresh thyme
- a few springs of fennel
- 1 huge garlic clove, or two medium garlic cloves
- olive oil
- about 2-3 cups of vegetable broth
- Slice the beets and potatoes.
- Put the beets and potatoes into separate pots (don't worry, cleanup is easy) with enough veggie broth to cover.
- Cover the pots. Cook the beets at medium heat for about 15 minutes and the potatoes on high for the same amount of time.*
- Remove from heat and drain away excess broth. Set aside.
- Coat a skillet with olive oil and bring to medium heat.
- Grate in the garlic clove.
- Let the garlic get a little dark and then chop in the spring onions and thyme
- Cook uncovered for about 5 minutes.
- Add the asparagus in and cover loosely.
- Cook for 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add in the potatoes and beets, tossing to coat the olive oil and herbs.
- Cook for 1 more minute and then remove from heat.
- Sprinkle on salt and pepper to taste.
- Just before serving, toss in a handful of fennel sprigs.
*you can cook them in the same pot if you want to. just start the potatoes on medium heat for 10 minutes, add in the beets, and cook for 15 more minutes. I just chose to cook them separately because I didn't want the beets bleeding all over the potatoes.