In the garden there are chives. I noticed them a few weeks ago on my way to the basement, tiny tendrils of green struggling to break through a tangled mass of weeds. I don’t deserve these chives. Last summer I planted nothing. I watched as weeds licked tentatively at the edges of the perennial bed and then swiftly claimed it as their own. I renovated my kitchen. I planned an August wedding. I neglected the garden and let the weeds go to seed. They grew so thick and consumed the garden so completely that I was stunned to see the chives emerge this spring, perennial though they are. “Oh my goodness, chives,” I whispered in wonder. I’m like this in the garden sometimes. You plant things; they grow. Despite the simple logic inherent in that process, I continue to be amazed and humbled by the divine beauty of it all.
And so, thusly bowled over by the presence of chives, I abandoned whatever task had sent me to the basement in the first place and knelt beside them on the newly-thawed ground to free the chives from their suffocating tangle of weeds. I yanked weeds from the cold, loamy soil until my fingers were nearly numb. I wrestled with tap roots and rhizomes and perniciously creeping root systems until the entire perennial bed was clear. I might have accidentally uprooted some asparagus. Also, I was wearing my pajamas at the time. If you had asked me even five years ago if I could envision a future in which I did yard work in my slippers, I would have laughed you right out of town. And yet there I was, dirt-streaked and be-flanneled in the gathering dusk. For the love of chives.
This morning I snipped a handful of chives and folded them into scrambled eggs. I’ve been eating scrambled eggs all my life — the quick and dirty kind, whisked into a frothy frenzy and scrambled in seconds over high heat. I like those eggs, but these are not those eggs. These eggs are soft and slow and creamy, stirred more than scrambled in a satisfyingly leisurely process that results in dense, luxurious curds. The chives impart a delicate onion flavor and herbaceous springy freshness to the richly creamy eggs, and the whole thing comes together in a perfectly lovely homage to the perennial nature of nature.
1/8 tsp. table salt
pinch of white pepper
1 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. cream cheese, cut into small bits
2 Tbsp. chives, minced
Whisk together the eggs, salt, and pepper until just combined. Melt the butter over low heat in a medium saucepan (yes, saucepan). When the butter has melted, add the cream cheese to the pan and then stir in the eggs.
Cook the eggs over low heat for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. It will appear that nothing is happening. Such is the nature of low and slow cooking.
After about 5 minutes, the eggs will begin to form small curds and the cream cheese will begin melting. Continue to cook over low heat, stirring frequently (maybe almost constantly depending on how hot the bottom of your pan is) to break up the curds and prevent any egg from sticking to the pan.
When the eggs are nearly cooked through but still runny, fold in the chives, reserving some for garnish. Continue cooking to desired doneness. Remove from heat and serve over toast. Sprinkle with reserved chives.