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My happiest asparagus moment came at lunch with Gael Greene, a fellow Detroiter who was looking me over and trying to come to terms with my arrival on her turf at New York magazine. We already knew each other, and we seemed to be getting on perfectly well, on a sunny day in 1980. Gael had ordered asparagus and passed her plate across to me so that I could have a taste. While I cut into the bright green spears, we went on talking. We continued to discuss my brilliant future at New York (which actually lasted only a few months before I took an offer to edit Book Digest for Dow Jones) and I began to eat asparagus. After a certain point, Gael looked down and moaned: “You’ve eaten all the tips.”

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