The following is a rant. If you do not enjoy rants, please leave now.
The other day I was looking for pectin (a thickener for jelly). I wandered up and down the baking isle, the jelly isle, and every other part of the grocery store. I was like the Jews looking for the promise land and it took me almost as long. I wouldn't have been so annoyed, if I hadn't run across so much crap. There were a lot of things that competed for, stupidest thing I've ever found in a grocery store. There was a TV/VCR combo. There were multiple DVDs and CDs from the 80s. However, there was only one thing that made me pull out my camera and stand in the middle of a crammed isle, trying to get the perfect shot of the absolute ridiculousness.
This my friends is why America is afraid to cook. I would like to know what marketing genius decided to convince America that they needed a specific type of pot and steam basket to cook asparagus. This piece of equipment frustrates me on so many levels. First off, it adds a useless piece of equipment to someone's already crowded kitchen. Secondly, it's a unitasker. It only performs one function, for one vegetable, prepared one way. Thirdly, it prepares asparagus in a way that makes it taste absolutely nasty.
Asparagus can taste amazing. A little salt, pepper, and olive oil does wonders. You can sauté it until almost incinerated and it tastes awesome. In fact, it tastes best slightly charred. How many foods can you say that about? You can roast it in a baking pan at 350, remove when slightly charred, squirt with a little lemon, and dust with parmesan cheese. This makes a decadent, but majorly easy side dish.
Why? Why? would you decide to steam asparagus. Gross. However, if you would like your very own piece of ridiculousness, Crate and Barrel sells an asparagus steamer for $39.95.