I was just looking for a simple answer to the age-old question "Why does eating asparagus make urine smell so
nauseatingly disgusting horrifically repulsive wretchedly rank violently vile bad?
So off to the
library internet I go, spending the morning researching this curiously phallic vegetable. Interestingly, I got MUCH more than I bargained for. For a brief window in time, it felt like I was back in school, with the teeniest of tiny exceptions: I was enjoying what I was learning.
For instance, did you know asparagus is a member of the lily family, along with onions, leeks and garlic? While it certainly isn't the prettiest, it's probably the most healthy. At less than four calories/spear, a serving provides 60% of the recommended daily allowance for folacin (necessary for blood cell formation, growth, and prevention of liver disease). High in fiber, it's also a good source of potassium, thiamin, and vitamin B6.
In order to allow development of a strong, fibrous root system, asparagus is usually not harvested for the first three years after planting its crowns; a well cared for asparagus planting will generally produce for about 15 years without being replanted. In the U.S., its growing season is late-April to mid-June, and typically, the larger the diameter, the better the quality.
Now, for the ANSWER to my original question, and the point of this stinkin' post (hey! that's the first time "stinkin'" is literal!)(and thanks to Claudia for letting me know somehow this explanation was "lost" in my original post :/): According to the Michigan Asparagus Advisory Board, "Most authorities feel that the compound that causes the odor in urine after consumption of asparagus is methylmercaptan, which is a sulfur-containing derivative of the amino acid, methionine. This is disputed by a few individuals who claim that the odiferous compound is asparagine-amino-succinic-acid monoamide, which is derived from the amino acid, asparagine. In either case, the product is formed as a derivative during the digestion and subsequent breakdown of beneficial amino acids that occur naturally in asparagus." Apparently this malady affects only about 40% of the general asparagus-consuming population...to say the least, I'm not thrilled to be a part of this minority...!
Now...a few treats for sticking with this (ahem, cough cough) educational post. First, a lovely cooking show, compliments of youtube. It was quite
i n t e r e s t i n g "meeting" Jolene Sugarbaker to say the least. I don't think Rachael Ray or Paula Deen have any reason to be shakin' in their shoes just yet...!
And, last, to celebrate my Mama Drama surprise, a few poems to honor this totally tubular vegetable.
(In Cinquain, using simultaneously both the traditional and modern methods)
Growing, cleansing, healing
Asparagus tips are the best
(In Haiku )
From a crown, green majesty.
Bigger IS better.
Asparagus funks up my pee,
Smells like something died inside me.
Only forty percent
Endure this lament
Oh, why does it happen to ME?!
Thank you, I'm done now :).
Everything you wanted to know about asparagus but
had no interest in asking were afraid to ask: