Asparagus

In ancient times, asparagus was cultivated all around the Mediterranean: the Egyptians ate it, and the Romans loved it too. It fell out of favour in the Middle Ages, but by the 16th century it was once more served on the best tables in France, and many virtues were attributed to it.
Asparagus heralds the arrival of spring: shy in its precious finery, white from head to foot, never having seen the light of day; or occasionally inquisitive, though still demure, it pokes its mauve-tinted nose above ground; then, finally frivolous, it bursts into the light to dress itself in shimmering green.

A Gourmet's notebook