Green bean tempura/photo by Donna Turner Ruhlman

Green bean tempura/Photo by Donna Turner Ruhlman

When I was a boy, my father looked at me in the rearview mirror and asked why was I so quiet.

I said, “I have nothing to say.”

Sometimes I have something to say, and I get overheated. Right now, I have nothing to say. Unlike a daily newspaper that has to say something on schedule, has to lead with some story, I don’t. I’m a strong believer in not speaking generally (there’s too much noise as there is) but especially when I have nothing to say. (To be honest, I wouldn’t even be typing this except that I can’t stand Friday’s picture of Rose’s grenadine any longer.)

I suggest that whenever you have nothing to say, you fry something in oil, such as green beans dipped in tempura batter, which was how we got our daughter to eat green beans when she was a child.

While you are eating them, you will probably have something to say to the person you are eating them with. But if you don’t, just eat. Sometimes it’s good to just sit quietly and eat.

Quick Tempura Batter

From Ratio

  1. Mix 2 parts flour with 1 part cornstarch, and add sparkling water till you have a light batter.
  2. Dip vegetables in batter and deep-fry them in vegetable oil.
  3. Serve them with a light soy sauce seasoned with vinegar.


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© 2013 Michael Ruhlman. Photo © 2013 Donna Turner-Ruhlman. All rights reserved.


12 Wonderful responses to “I Have Nothing to Say”

  • Tags

    I read somewhere that people who interrupt are about 7 times more likely to have a heart attack than people who practice good listening skills. I have nothing more to say at this time.

  • Eric

    This evening while driving past a local Methodist Church the placard in front read, “wisdom is understanding that silence often adds more to a conversation than speaking”… Suprisingly, the wife didn’t appreciate it being pointed out.

  • Victoria

    This reminds me of the NYTimes article on the Acela quiet car, which sounds like heaven not listening to everyone yap, yap, yap or even tap, tap, tap.

    Although I truly love a lot of quiet time, I thoroughly enjoy listening to a beautifully narrated audio book. I just listened to Jane Eyre read by Juliet Stevenson while I did work around the house. It was a delight. And I was amazed at how much of the story of Wuthering Heights I had forgotten over the years when I listened to that. I have always loved reading a book, but I have also always loved being read to.

    Are you absolutely sick of hearing how much I like your “Best Homemade Bread?” Because I cook for two, I have now taken to halving the recipe, and it turns out very well – a small, lovely boule. My favorite breakfast right now is an egg boiled to medium (set white, soft yolk) with a piece of your bread toasted and spread with salted butter and elderflower and orange marmalade (available at IKEA).

  • Carolyn Z

    Being quiet is a good thing. Don’t want to have an unexpressed thought!

    Sorry that’s kind of snide.

  • Matt

    It’s better to be quiet and have people think you are a fool, then to open your mouth and remove all doubt!

  • Mike

    How ironic that has totally been my mood the past two days. And the frustrating thing was having other’s around (unavoidable) who couldn’t stop taking. Talk about nails across the chalkboard.


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