Ode to Asparagus
Asparagus, asparagus, let me sing thy praise.
Your reign as “Food of Kings” will endure to the end of days.
That Louis Quatorze of France, he loved you so dear
That he had greenhouse built especially to grow you throughout the year.
Yes, he was but one of many in a long line of fans,
Dating back to the Greeks, The Romans, even the ancient Egyptians.
You delight us in springtime, when all is anew,
Pleasing our palates as only you can do.
In your generosity you offer us a choice of green or white.
But we cannot declare one superior to the other, for that would not be right.
It has come to be that we Yanks favor your bright green spears,
While those on the continent have preferred white through the years.
We can certainly all agree that in the kitchen none can compare
To all that you have to offer, all that with us you do share.
For on any menu of worth we find you filling many roles, gracefully omnipresent –
As an appetizer, a refreshing salad, or perchance, as an accompaniment to pheasant.
You allow our culinary creativity to take flight and flourish,
As we ponder just exactly how best to prepare you for that unique and stellar dish.
Will we blanch you? Steam you? Saute you? Or will we cook you not at all?
Since in your natural, raw state you also offer much and do us ever enthrall.
To peel, or not to peel, there are those who would debate the merits,
Since it is not as straightforward a matter as it would be with, say, some carrots.
However, that debate may be settled, we vow to cook you with the greatest finesse,
Mindful of not overcooking your spears or gentle tips, leaving you a mushy mess!
No, we would never disgrace you in such fashion, behaving with reckless abandon.
We would first get out of the kitchen and deservedly hang up our apron.
In gratitude for your many gifts to us, we make you this solemn vow,
And may our words ring true each spring, as they do in the here and now.
Written by Sarah Schuler – 2010
Former student of Pascal Dionot
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