I like asparagus. How a slender
THE KING OF VEGETABLES
green shaft drives its candle-guttered
prepuce into the light. I'm not trying
to intimate anything sexual, only that
I admire such quiet power, all done
anonymously in the dark. For comparison
take broccoli; misshapen shaft crowned
with annoying little spherules, that
break off and litter the salad bowl.
Asparagus is best eaten al dente,
still keeping its head erect, until
the final bite. My wife grasps each spear
by its butt end, and, moving her fingers up
toward the tip, bends the spear, snapping it
in two, then steams the fibrous parts
for their juice. I have never tried
this by-product but she swears
the essence makes her powerful.
Mouselline or Green Goddess sauce will
cause the little tips to swell with extra flavour,
as if, the king knew his courtesans were doting.
Julia Child has tested every cooking method:
peeled, unpeeled, boiled butts, steamed tips.
She prefers the French technique; peel,
tie in bundles, plunge into a large kettle
of boiling water until tender. Bourgeois salute
to a king! Serve with chicken breasts, brains,
sweetbreads and a chilled bottle of Vouvray.
Never mind olfactory hallucinations at midnight,
ablutions when the king will exact his tax.
Copyright 2000, Arthur Ginsberg
Arthur Ginsberg is a Seattle neurologist and the author of a volume
of poetry titled Walking the Panther (Northwood Press, 1984). His
writing has been published in several journals, including Arnazella, Beacon
Review, Spindrift, Embers, and Prickly Pear.
Switched-on Gutenberg/Vol. 4, No. 2