Break off the tough end of the stalk. With a knife scrape the lower half of each stalk. Tie asparagus into bundle and stand upright in cooking vessel. Cover with boiling water and boil 5 minutes. Drain off all this water and refill pot with boiling water. Add salt and sugar and cook uncovered until tender, about 20 minutes. Carefully lift asparagus to serving dish. Lightly brown bread crumbs in hot butter and pour over asparagus. For variety, chop hard-cooked eggs and parsley. Mix and sprinkle over buttered asparagus.
To freshen wilted asparagus, cover with muslin cloth and bury in the ground for 12 to 42 hours.
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