I’ve been up for an hour or so, reading the news and fiddling with bits of PHP when Aimee comes into the living room. “I’m going to make a French breakfast,” she says. “How does little omlettes with leeks sound? And asparagus with speck?”
This is obviously a trick question. Only someone with massive and fatal allergies could think that sounds like a bad idea. And so the eggs are cracked, the phalluses steamed and buttered, and of course breakfast is marvelous.
The point being elsewhere. Germany is spargel-crazy, but it’s the albino white ones that are the center of the cult. They’re sold on the street in different grades, boxes for 1.99 euro/k, 3.99/k, 5.99/k. We bought our first thick white stalks at the Turkish market in Kreuzberg yesterday, along with tomatoes and little bags of spices and eggplants as shiny as a freshly waxed car. Verdict: they are far milder than green asparagus, and perhaps more tender, although I’m not yet sure of that.
Asparagus tidbits: White asparagus is grown thusly by keeping the shoots away from light when they’re being grown. It’s an ancient delicacy, and the Roman emporers had a special fleet tasked with finding the choicest bits being grown around the empire and taking them to Rome. Augustus apparently described the concept of “haste” as “quicker than you can cook asparagus.”
And so now, go, my children, and bring me back the tasty bits. I want them before me quicker than my royal chefs can cook the grass of kings.