Lunar Observer

It’s asparagus-is-less-expensive-and-tastes-better season

Asparagus, water, heat, and butter. Maybe blueberries.

Lunar Observer

It’s asparagus-is-less-expensive-and-tastes-better season

Asparagus, water, heat, and butter. Maybe blueberries.
Lunar Observer

It’s asparagus-is-less-expensive-and-tastes-better season

Asparagus, water, heat, and butter. Maybe blueberries.

Late April is traditionally the start of Asparagus Season in North America, but you may know it as Local Asparagus Now Available Season, or at the very least, Asparagus Is Less Expensive And Tastes Better Season.

Asparagus is one of those great foods that you should never get at a restaurant, because the best way to cook it is to boil it briefly, then put butter on it, and that's it. In a restaurant they'll do all this other stuff to it that will seem enticing in a description on a chalkboard, but won't be as good as from your own kitchen (assuming you have access to water, heat, and butter). My dad makes it with blueberry sauce, that's about as fancy as I allow the dish to get. And even then the sauce is just blueberries and some water, which you cook until sauce-like.

Asparagus cooks so fast and effortlessly that “as quick as cooking asparagus” was coined by Roman emperor Augustus as a temporary 1,900-year stopgap until the more delicate turn of phrase “faster than you can say ‘Jackie Robinson’” could be invented in the 1950s. Asparagus is available globally in a weird array of colors including white, yellow, purple, and green, but the best is that which has all these colors overlapping, but is mostly green.

Rare Gratitude

If you're planning an outfit to match asparagus, all I can say is think again — colors that are delicate and subtle on a vegetable can make an animal look garish at best, and at worst, bruised. It would be more advantageous to think in terms of counterpoint, or quite simply to base your outfit on some other factor, unrelated to food.

The most common comment regarding asparagus, which I would be remiss if I failed to mention, is that it makes your pee stinky. To that particular effect, I bid welcome. Sometimes (like on most holidays) it can be nice to eat so much that merely digesting it all becomes an event. In the same way, stinky asparagus pee can be a nice signal that it's once again asparagus season on your part of Earth. Not necessarily pleasant, but a marker of recent satisfaction.

Asparagus cooks so fast and effortlessly that “as quick as cooking asparagus” was coined by Roman emperor Augustus

Marcel Proust spoke well on the subject, which is no surprise, as he frequently spoke well on a wide variety of subjects. From the public domain translation of Swann’s Way by C.K. Scott-Moncrieff:

...asparagus, tinged with ultramarine and rosy pink which ran from their heads, finely stippled in mauve and azure, through a series of imperceptible changes to their white feet, still stained a little by the soil of their garden-bed: a rainbow-loveliness that was not of this world. I felt that these celestial hues indicated the presence of exquisite creatures who had been pleased to assume vegetable form, who, through the disguise which covered their firm and edible flesh, allowed me to discern in this radiance of earliest dawn, these hinted rainbows, these blue evening shades, that precious quality which I should recognise again when, all night long after a dinner at which I had partaken of them, they played (lyrical and coarse in their jesting as the fairies in Shakespeare's “Dream”) at transforming my humble chamber into a bower of aromatic perfume.

“Transform the humble chamber” is a pretty gracious euphemism for stinking up the bathroom, but Proust wasn't some hack, he was the real deal. So we gotta give it to him. If you've never read his magnum opus In Search Of Lost Time, it's very enjoyable. If you started it a long time ago but haven't finished the whole thing yet, Hi, me too. If you've never cooked asparagus before, I recommend snapping off the bottom inch or so, boiling the shoots until tender, and serving them with butter and blueberries.

Jacob Khepler is the main writer and publisher of Mothers News. He lives in Providence, Rhode Island.
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