I’ve mentioned before that the Germans are so fixated on asparagus that they claw it out of the naked earth before it is even ready to eat.
In Expatica, David Gordon Smith tells it like it is. Supposing you didn’t know the word Spargel and saw the excitement of the Germans, what would you expect?
bq. In the absence of your dictionary you are reduced to speculation. Is it caviar? Truffles? Puffer fish? Whatever it is, it must be exotic and exciting and well worth the extravagant sums the restaurant is demanding. …
bq. On the edge of your seat, you watch your plate approach across the room. As it is tantalisingly lowered onto your table, you spot some boiled potatoes, a slice of ham, and then, immersed in a golden lake of Hollandaise sauce, a few sprigs of asparagus? Your slavering jaw drops. This is what all the excitement is about? This is what they are charging EUR 13.90 for?
The season ends on June 24th (is there a Spargelgesetz?), but other things have short seasons too. I like fresh peas, and many people like strawberries, but the excitement is no comparison. I wonder if there is some genetic reason why asparagus is so popular here?
Here is a site with photos showing the obligatory Eastern European asparagus picker (there was a scare this year that the government might make unemployed German persons help out) and the rape of the asparagus bed.