Last night we had asparagus for dinner. To be precise, we had bacon wrapped asparagus which, in my humble opinion, is the best way to eat the spiky, green, spring vegetable.
I’ll pause for a moment, gentle reader, so you can wipe that drool off your chin. The mention of bacon does that to me too.
Asparagus is the first food I remember hating passionately as a child. We lived in a tiny house in a small town in Iowa and my parents would pick the asparagus that grew next to the railroad tracks close to our home. I was only four years old, but my memory of prolific gagging is quite vivid. I also distinctly remember my father saying, “Fine, don’t eat it. All the more for me.”
I did not try that vegetable again for 33 years.
Inexplicably, yet irrevocably connected to this early asparagus catastrophe is another memory I have of being four years old. I am sitting on our front porch and watching dressed up teenagers attending Prom at the high school across the street. The girls wore fancy gowns in every color of the rainbow with their Farrah Fawcett hair-dos and each time the doors opened, the best hits of 1977 poured out.
I have no idea why these two memories are forever linked in my mind. My only explanation is that a merciful, loving God arranged for a wonderful memory to accompany a gruesomely disgusting one and thereby lessen its sting.
Time passes and taste buds evolve. Last year a good friend of mine invited my family over for dinner. She made asparagus and I felt compelled as a decent human being to put some on my plate since she went to all the trouble of cooking it. To my surprise I found the asparagus to be quite edible. There was no gagging at all. Even more astonishing I went back and had seconds.
Now, when spring arrives I buy asparagus several times during the season and lament there is not a railroad track nearby where I can find the vegetable growing wildly.
My son groans when he sees me preparing it for dinner. Even when it is wrapped with delicious, delicious bacon he is not tempted to eat it. I always tell him, “Fine, don’t eat it. All the more for me. But in a couple of decades you’re going to love this stuff.”
And then I feel an overwhelming urge to listen to disco music and feather my hair.