Aside from forgetting the names of people, things, places and events during conversations, which failing I have decided is probably a good thing, my memory is as good as the gear box in a rarely used classic car; hard to start from cold, but when running will purr along sweetly as long as bursts of acceleration are kept to a minimum. It was during a recent outing that my memory reminded me how disappointing have been my experiences of eating asparagus in restaurants as opposed to those at my own, or a good friend’s, table. I am no longer a denizen of restaurants, good or bad, which is just as well considering how curmudgeonly and intolerant I have become with the passing of time, but asparagus, to my mind, is one of those foods that is not well suited the disciplines of smart restauration. Asparagus, like fresh crab, is the ultimate fast food and so demands the messiness and lack of order that resonates with Woody Allen’s “Is sex dirty” “Only when it’s being done right” approach which is often, in my experience, not as welcome as one would imagine in the hushed lairs of the gastro gnomes or, equally, in the cool eateries of foodie hipsters. Eating food such as this needs to be enjoyed without restraint, with bare hands and as often as the season allows. There is no question that green asparagus is the least troublesome to prepare and therefore the quickest to get onto a plate….take the head of a spear in one hand and the base in the other and gently bend the spear until it snaps, conveniently at the junction between the woody base and the soft green flesh of the spear, and then plunge them into a shallow pan of boiling, salted water. They cook very quickly and to judge their readiness prick the flesh just below the tip with a sharp pointed knife which should enter easily but the flesh should still have a firm feel to it. Once cooked, take them out and drain them. If you’re planning to eat them later, plunge them into iced water to stop the cooking and wrap them up in a clean linen tea towel…..in my case, I want to eat them now so they go straight onto a plate. My preferred accompaniment is the yolks of good eggs, hard boiled, mixed roughly with salt, black pepper and olive oil. Drink a dry Muscat from the Languedoc or, as we’re in the Pays de Loire, a Sancerre, Pouilly-Fumé, Chevernay or nearly any of the Sauvignons from the Loire.