New Amsterdam asparagus
Two years ago, The Husband-Type Man got me The New York Cookbook, and it’s quickly become one of my all-time favorites. This recipe – and the included story – is taken from it.
Household manuals and "receipt" books from the pre-Revolutionary era often described "asparagus with good Holland butter and grated nutmeg/" About 20 years ago, the Netherlands Consulate General inNew York printed instructions for "How to East Asparagus the Dutch Way":
"Neatly stack drained and piping hot, fresh asparagus on an oval, napkin-covered serving dish. Surround them with halfved, hard boiled eggs (hot). Pass with salt, pepper and ground nutmeg and a creamy butter sauce.
"With a fork, mash a half egg on the dinner plate and, with seasoning and a helping of butter sauce, make a paste. Holding the fork in the right hand and an asparagus stalk in the left, dip the tip in the egg mixture; bring it to the mouth with the aid of the fork. Repeat this with the next section of the stalk. Leave the end of the stalk on the side of the plate, and continue with the next stalk. With some trial and error this can be done gracefully. According to Dutch etiquette, the use of a knife is taboo,"