NABOKV-L post 0019102, Fri, 15 Jan 2010 22:38:10 +0100

Proust and Asparagus
Readers of Proust will recall the preparation of asparagus in the first part
of his "A la recherche du temps perdu", and, more significantly and
relevantly, the following passage:

I would stop by the table, where the kitchen-maid had shelled them, to
inspect the platoons of peas, drawn up in ranks and numbered, like little
green marbles, ready for a game; but what fascinated me would be the
asparagus, tinged with ultramarine and rosy pink which ran from their
heads, finely stippled in mauve and azure, through a series of
imperceptible changes to their white feet, still stained a little by the
soil of their garden-bed: a rainbow-loveliness that was not of this world.
I felt that these celestial hues indicated the presence of exquisite
creatures who had been pleased to assume vegetable form, who, through the
disguise which covered their firm and edible flesh, allowed me to discern
in this radiance of earliest dawn, these hinted rainbows, these blue
evening shades, that precious quality which I should recognise again when,
all night long after a dinner at which I had partaken of them, they played
(lyrical and coarse in their jesting as the fairies in Shakespeare's
_Dream_) at transforming my humble chamber into a bower of aromatic

A. Bouazza.

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