The French peel a lot of things that Americans don’t. Most of us never peel a tomato unless forced to by a finicky recipe (like one of mine). Peeling a mushroom would be unthinkable here, and even in France this habit is dying out. So peeling asparagus sounds like just another silly affectation. In fact, peeling is very practical because it allows you to boil or steam the asparagus and have it come out with both tip and stalk done at the same time. This brings up the thick-versus-thin controversy. I, for one, try to avoid asparagus any thinner than a thumb, because I like thick asparagus’s flavor and meaty texture. And because fewer thick meaty stalks are needed for a serving, peeling is less of a project.