Order your copy of Minding Miss Manners now.

Miss Manners by Judith Martin, Nicholas Ivor Martin and Jacobina Martin

Must We Return to Shaking Hands?

DEAR MISS MANNERS: What’s the proper way to eat asparagus?

GENTLE READER: It depends on how much fun you want to have.

There are three equally proper methods:

If you just want to get your greens, use a fork, cutting the spears with the side of the fork before conveying the pieces to your mouth.

Or you could invest in asparagus holders, if you can find them. That they often have an asparagus spear etched on the side does not prevent diners from staring with stupefaction at seeing them in their place settings.

Free, and even more fun, Miss Manners believes, is picking up the asparagus by hand and nibbling from the top. What makes this enjoyable is the horror on the faces of those who are unaware that this method is traditional. (Note: This is not a privilege extended to other vegetables, so don’t try it.)

A note of caution: Watch out for dripping sauces. The serene smile you exhibit when knowing that you are correct despite all disbelief does not sit well above a stained shirt front.