Sunday, June 08, 2008

White Asparagus

During the spring, white asparagus starts to show up in the supermarkets of the Netherlands. (Probably other countries as well, but my only experience is that I have seen it here and I didn't see it in New York or Texas.) It's one of those seasonal foods that I really like.

I asked a friend the other day if she and her boyfriend at white asparagus with ham and boiled eggs. She just looked at me strange. I thought it was one of those meals (like stampot)that every young Dutch person learned from their mother. Apparently her Dutchie missed that lesson. Mine did not.

I've always been a fan of asparagus. It seems exotic. We didn't have it much when I was growing up. My mother's philosophy was to not make us eat anything we didn't like. Hence, we got very predictable foods. She was not one to push spinach on us, for instance. She would give a vegetable a try, but it we didn't like it, that was okay. And when I decided that my chosen vegetable to hate was broccoli (since hating spinach was already taken), all she said was, "Okay. No broccoli for you." That said, I love broccoli now. And spinach. And asparagus, which is what this is about.

The traditional meal containing white asparagus - according to my resident expert, Fred - is to put it (freshly boiled) on a plate with a boiled egg and ham. The kind of ham we use is achterham, which is just regular old ham, not smoked. The preparation of the ham is to pull it out of the fridge when I start boiling the water for the other two ingredients. This gives it enough time to have the chill knocked off. Then it is put on the plate with the rest. A good helping of butter makes the whole thing heerlijk, which means "delicious."

The asparagus in the photo above were really big - bought at the Albert Cuyp Markt. So big that we didn't eat the other ones we'd bought. I ate them the next day. Dutch food can be really interesting. I took some pictures of food at a party recently and I'm going to write about them.

And that brings me to my big announcement. (Big to me.) Inspired by a fellow blogger, TheAmpuT, who has taken it upon herself to blog every day for 2008 (I think), and brought to you by the number 43, I am going to blog every day for the next 43 days. This is day one.

Why 43, you ask? I'll be turning 43 next Thursday and I've taken a lot of very nice pictures of 43's on buildings in Amsterdam, London and Rome (see how I am?), so I need an excuse to put them up. Plus, I need a kick in the proverbial butt about writing and I liked how the whole NaNoBloMo thing worked out in November.

By the way, if you haven't checked out TheAmpuT's blog, you should. Her tag line is: "because being an amputee is often quite funny." And it is. It's pretty easy to drop in. And it's a good read.


Anonymous said...

Hi Andy!
Actually, my Dutchie didn't miss the lesson, he just doesn't care for the combination. Go figure. I asked him about it and he said that if we ate at his parents' house more often we certainly would have eaten it.
So how do you feel about nasi?

Anonymous said...

Hi Andy!
I have a competition each spring with my Brother-in-Law in Berlin, comparing asparagus prices, he won't buy it unless its under 5 euro's a kilo, and it took weeks to hit that mark this season! Even in Berlin which is cheaper than Amsterdam. (bad grammar!)

Anonymous said...

Yeah! A clue a clue, as they say on a famous kiddie show about a Blue dog. Actually, I want to go on record as remembering your birthday this year correctly and this blog entry just confirmed it for me. But, stranger still, I had a dream the other night about white asparagus. No lie. We're at the beach right now- I will write you about it. It's heavenly.

Anonymous said...

I, too, love asparagus. I know there are many types: big, white, green, small, fresh, moldy, burnt. But I never knew there were big, fat white asparagus. It surprises me that anyone would be able to eat all of that in one sitting. I am going to stick with little green asparagus, roasted to perfection by my mother.