Asparagus HistoryA member of the lily family, asparagus, (Asparagus officinalis), comes from the Greek word asparagos, which first appears in English print around 1000 A.D. It cannot be definitively tracked to any one specific area of origin, although it is known to be native to the eastern Mediterranean and Asia Minor areas.
As early as 200 BC, Cato gave excellent growing instructions for asparagus. The ancient Egyptians cultivated it, and Romans, from Pliny to Julius Caesar to Augustus, prized the wild variety.
"As quick as cooking asparagus" was an old Roman saying meaning something accomplished rapidly.
Herbalist John Girard mentioned wild asparagus in the 16th century, and it is mentioned as far back as the 17th century in French cookbooks.
The asparagus growing beds in Northern Italy were famous during the Renaissance period. These graceful spears have always been a sign of elegance, and in times past, were a delicacy only the wealthy could afford. Roman emperors were so fond of asparagus, that they kept a special asparagus fleet for the purpose of fetching it.
More About Asparagus and Asparagus Recipes:• Asparagus Selection and Storage
• Asparagus Cooking Tips
• Should asparagus be peeled? FAQ
• What is white asparagus? FAQ
• Asparagus Varieties and Seasons
• Asparagus History
• Asparagus and Health
• Asparagus Recipes
Asparagus Photo © 2006 Peggy Trowbridge, licensed to About.com, Inc.
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