I was listening to NPR the other day when a familiar voice came on. It was the voice of Melissa Arnot, one of the most amazing mountain climbers in the world. She was speaking with Robin Young from a satellite phone at the base of Everest, preparing to summit yet again. She’s already hit the top several times, but now she’s attempting to be the only American woman ever to do it without supplemental oxygen and without the help of a team of sherpas assisting her with gear. She’s doing this in part to raise awareness of the dangerous conditions sherpas endure on a daily basis and to raise money for the families of six sherpas who died in an avalanche last year.
(She may not make it this year, in light of the news the next day about the devastating earthquake. Melissa is safe, but many are not. Here’s information on how to help.)
The reason her voice was familiar was because I interviewed Melissa once, back when she had just set a record for most times summited Everest by an American woman. Even then, I felt inadequate, sitting across a booth from her in a small diner talking about how accomplished she was, and yet how matter-of-fact she was about what she’s done so far.
I don’t know her well, but the brief contact I’d had with her somehow magnified the feeling of further inadequacy I felt listening to her on NPR. Here was this woman, roughly the same age as I am, with a house and a husband and a dog and responsibilities living in the same town as me. And yet, while she is doing amazing things and helping people, I am working an office job, struggling to balance blogging and freelancing, trying to figure out how to pay our mortgage and get my dog to stop barking.
Oh yeah, and making asparagus pizza. Which, while it’s not summiting Everest, was pretty darn good. Sometimes, when we can’t do big important things, maybe doing small things well can be enough.
(Speaking of doing small things…every little bit helps. Please consider giving to Nepal.)
- 1 recipe pizza dough, gluten-free if you like (Bob’s Red Mill has a good mix)
- 3/4 pound asparagus, diced or sliced thinly
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
- 6 ounces low-moisture mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 2 tsp olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- roughly 1/4 cup minced chives
- Preheat the oven to its hottest temperature, roughly 500 degrees. Roll out your pizza dough into a roughly 9×13 rectangle, or a 12-inch circle if you have a pizza stone. Set aside.
- Toss asparagus with olive oil, salt and pepper. Top pizza dough with cheese, then sprinkle the asparagus evenly over the top, making sure to drizzle all of that olive oil in the bottom of your bowl over the top of it.
- Bake in oven for anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes, looking for your crust to get that signature color. The asparagus may also turn a little brown. Remove from oven, sprinkle chives over top, and wait about five minutes before slicing and stuffing your face with it.