Brad's Asparagus /

I’ve been craving beauty since the day I was born. There are weeks, like this one, where the hunger is deeper and greater than others, where the longing is more acute and harder to ignore, but it’s always been there. I want sunsets and thriving gardens and people who are open-handed with what they own. I long for redemptive stories, I want to listen to truth-telling music,  I read words like these, over and over, wondering how to live them. If we all feel this longing, like I think we all do, then it’s probably true we feel it in different forms: I, in the ways above, or in making a meal, seeing vegetables turned to withered stalks of dinner, covered in blistered almonds and bits of garlic—order out of chaos. You, in ways peculiar to you. Does the look of a fresh vegetable, like a simple asparagus stalk, ever take your breath away? It does mine. Sometimes it hits that part of my heart that is ever longing, ever thirsting for something that I know to want and yet don’t know why. And then I read words like these in a library book:

“The books or the music in which we thought the beauty was located will betray us if we trust to them; it was not in them, it only came through them, and what came through them was longing. These things—the beauty, the memory of our own past—are good images of what we really desire; but if they are mistaken for the thing itself, they turn into dumb idols, breaking the hearts of their worshippers. For they are not the thing itself; they are only the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have never yet visited.” C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory

These beauties—these real and ever-present beauties in a world of pain and suffering, of babies dying and people being attacked and broken people breaking each other over and over again—are real beauties, gifts that point to another world, one that is not like this one we know. Yet they are just glimpses. Tiny glimpses. Glimpses I am looking at but sometimes, glory!, looking through—to the greater echo, greater flower, greater country that’s to come.

Brad's Asparagus /
Brad's Asparagus /
Brad's Asparagus /
Brad's Asparagus /
Brad's Asparagus /
Brad's Asparagus /
Brad's Asparagus /

Brad’s Asparagus


Serving Size: 2 to 4

Brad’s Asparagus

Adapted from Honey & Salt, the blog by my glimpse-of-beauty friend Joanna, who took it from her husband, Brad, both of whom have pointed my heart higher every time we've talked.


  • 1 bunch (about a pound) fresh asparagus
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, divided
  • 1/2 cup (80 g) almonds, chopped
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • 1 garlic clove, minced


Cut the tough bottom ends off the asparagus stalks, and then cut them in half across the middle (not vertically top to bottom, but side to side across the middles, to make shorter stalks). Warm a tablespoon of coconut oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once it’s hot, add the almonds and sauté them, stirring often, until lightly fried and super fragrant, about 5 minutes. Next, add the asparagus, which will sizzle a little but don’t worry you’re okay, and the other tablespoon of coconut oil and a big pinch of sea salt, and stir again. Let this cook for another 5 to 10 minutes (for young asparagus) or 15 to 20 minutes (for thicker asparagus), until you think the asparagus are just almost exactly where you’d like them in terms of doneness (taste to check!). Then, add the garlic, stir until fragrant, and remove the pan from the heat. Adjust salt to taste. Serve right away!

Shanna Mallon

Shanna Mallon started Food Loves Writing back in 2008, as a way to remember her grandma and write about her life through food. Since then it's become a place leading her to a lifestyle of eating whole foods, a new home in Nashville and the love of her life, Tim. Follow Shanna on Twitter @foodloves, keep up with Food Loves Writing on Facebook and stay inspired with the monthly newsletter.

This Post Has 13 Comments

  1. Kathryn

    I think it’s easy to forget to notice those glimpses of beauty but once you’ve had your eyes opened to them, you start seeing them everywhere.

    1. Shanna Mallon

      I hope that’s true.

  2. Katie Bazzel

    all i have to say is thanks for these this :)

    1. Katie Bazzel

      these words, this post **

      1. Shanna Mallon

        you’re kind. thank you!

  3. jessiev

    Oh, yummiest of yums! I have asparagus – making today – thank you!

    1. Shanna Mallon

      yay! hope you enjoy!

  4. Kelley

    Good stuff — the words and the food!

    1. Shanna Mallon

      thanks, friend!

  5. Joanna

    One of my favorite things about cooking is “This recipe, from so-and-so, who took it from this person, who always makes it for someone else’s birthday…” Sharing is another way to increase beauty, I think.

    1. Shanna Mallon

      It definitely increased the beauty in this case. Thanks for letting us share in yours!

  6. Ami@naivecookcooks

    Simple yet elegant salad!!

    1. Shanna Mallon

      Thanks, Ami!

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