The eating of asparagus in China can be dated back to a relatively late time, paling in comparison to the 2000 years or more history in western world. People like me who live in an inland city in the south west China have eaten this vegetable for at most a dozen of years. In one summer, this pretty expensive vegetable began to appear quietly in the market. Every summer from then on, it became the new in-season food.
Once returning home, I would, following my mother`s instruction, first take out the cuticle in triangle form on the edge side, where the axillary bud was supposed to grow. Then I would nip the asparagus one piece by one piece, from the root to the top, until you can not go further, break it and keep the upper part, throwing away the lower root. Never chop it without this procedure, because the root part tastes really terrible. In my family, we cook the dish in pretty simple way. Once the oil is heated, put in some minced garlic and quick-fry it. And then put the sliced tender asparagus into the pot and fry for a little while. After putting a little bit salt, we can take the dish out of the pot. When cooking vegetable dish, we often use animal oil. For asparagus, chicken oil is the best choice, but never lard oil, because asparagus doesn`t match that kind of oil so much as tine peas, too greasy. If no chicken oil, vegetable oil such as olive oil and maize oil is all good choice, which helps produce sweet flavour.
Plutarch once wrote: “Caesar did not care eating so much.” He cited one example of asparagus dish, which was not cooked with olive oil as usual, but with myrrh. Caesar`s friends at the table all kept certain distance from the dish, but Caesar ate it up with no change in facial expression. But Plutarch did not mention whether the asparagus in this dish was scalded or raw. In fact, raw asparagus is very delicious, but of course the cooked one is sweeter. Asparagus should not be scalded for too long, otherwise soft one is unpalatable. The scalded asparagus should be drained, and then mixed with olive oil, minced garlic and fruit vinegar. A tasty and refreshing dish is ready now, especially in summer. How does the dish “myrrh with asparagus” taste?Ancient classics often sang high praise of the flavour of myrrh, but frankly speaking, the myrrh juice tastes, to our modern people, a little bit like the flavour of smelly gum. Once put in the asparagus, the taste must have been repulsive. Maybe only those who are not particular about food can be heroes. In ancient Rome, whoever cared much about the flavour of food were regarded unmanly. Coarse salted fish, super sour olive were dishes for men.
Asparagus was also an important medicinal plant in ancient Rome. Regimen was prevalent and used as a crucial part in medicine there. As is recorded in old Plinius` Nature History, asparagus was put in wine, and then boiled with many plants such as sugarbeet. Nowadays, drinking wine with spices has become an extraordinarily ancient living style, which seems to be found only in Greece. It`s hard to imagine how the wine boiled with many vegetables tastes like, pretty like something liked by various kinds of witches and ancient heroes in fantasy literature.
Asparagus is also regarded as a kind of important medicinal materials for infertility, maybe due to its shape. Just put it inside the small bag with you as protective talisman, and drink the dense mix ground by asparagus. This plant really has a strong reproduction ability. After you cut one crop, another will grow up. Maybe that`s the reason why people think it can promote pregnancy, the same as leek is considered to tonify Yang (bright positive masculine principle in Chinese dualistic cosmology) in China.