Friday, May 13, 2011

Scat, a dare, Playboy, semen straws, and....asparagus.

I am always one up for a challenge. I take what's presented. Perhaps it's my midwest roots -- I eat what is before me and I always clean my plate. I can still hear my Grandpa Joe saying "there are children starving in Africa...finish your food." Guiltily, more ketchup would be slathered and food "thankfully" gulped down. Not without question, mind you -- I'm never without a question -- but I ate. I eat. There are people starving.  

I question -- but -- I am thankful.

I also have a knack for laughing at inappropriate times. Not always about inappropriate things, but just the timing -- I often get it wrong -- in a quiet room, at suspicious double entendres...and, at ironies. I find life funny. Some people don't. And yet....still, I laugh.

I grew up on a farm, and saw and thought a lot about waste and reproduction. I kept a cattle semen catalog on my nightstand and flipped through it before bed each night, dreaming of what "straw" I'd buy for my heifer. My grandmother reprimanded my mother for letting me have such things. It was nearing pornographic. It's just wrong, she shouldn't be thinking of such things. Like a 13 year old boy weaseling a Playboy; but, I was just a 13 year old girl reading semen catalogs -- weighing birthweight and judging percentages of "takes." Perfectly innocent, perfectly normal, however much it seems to the contrary. I probably would have laughed, out loud, had my grandmother told me to stop. And that? That would have been inappropriate -- not the laughter, but the time. I laugh loudly, too...which makes this whole matter worse.

Recently, I did the equivalent of laughing out loudly (and yes, I am making fun of "lol's." Please, read into it) in writing...at a scat story. A scat story which Cofisher, over at Windknots & Tangled Lines published. After my loudly written laughter, he commented, "Erin, okay your next assignment, should you chose to accept it, is to write a urine story." How could I not accept this? A urine story! But, it's just not as funny as scat. Except…

.....except, when it comes to asparagus.

Asparagus pee is funny. And, horribly fascinating. It smells --- have you noticed? Precious few do, and I seem to always be the crass one to bring it up...while eating asparagus. I know, I know...Erin, you shouldn't talk about such things at the table ("perhaps, you shouldn't write about such things in a blog post either, " a little mind-game-gnome tells me. But, I just scare him off with my fork...and move on). For some reason, this table talk often dis-spears appetites. I don't get it. I just eat more. There is a sulfur compound in asparagus called mercaptan, and it is the digestive breaking down of this which compounds the smell. But not everyone can. Smell, that is. There are a few theories regarding this: first, everyone's urine smells after eating asparagus, but only about half of the population have the specific gene that is needed to smell the change. Second: only half of the world's population has the gene that's required to break down the compounds found in asparagus in the first place. No breakdown. No smell. No fun.

I am one of the lucky ones. I have the gene. I get the fun.

So did Marcel Proust. He wrote, "... the precious essence that I recognized again when, all night long following a dinner at which I had eaten them, they played, in farces as crude and poetic as a fairy play by Shakespeare, at changing my chamber pot into a jar of perfume." And, while I wouldn't go so far as to say it's "perfume" (it really just smells like asparagus), it is a heck of a lot better than most of the noxious rose-bush oil women anoint themselves with.  They're like bouquets in shoes, who should have stayed in their vase.

I'll take smelling like asparagus...any day. 

So, it's Spring. The 10 inches of snow that fell over the past few days is melting gangbusters...drip, drip, drip -- A River Runs Through It -- it, being my roof. Kinda makes me need to....go.... 

So yes, eat some asparagus. Pee. Go see if you're one of the lucky ones too... 



25 comments:

  1. I am one of those asparagus stinking pee'ers lol.. As you I like to cook. Since I have all this free time I enrolled in le cordon bleu chef school. Granted I have a BA, Masters, and engineering degree I can't work due to illnesses. So I am doing what I do best.. Going to school. I started Monday and this should be fun. The only draw back is I am doing this for the experience of cooking and not for a chef job. I'll start posting my cooking concoctions when I get that far. It is an 18 month program but most of my other schooling will fill the other requirements so I should be done in 10 months with a chefs degree.. Woohoo

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  2. I have been proverbially throttled. I will never doubt again...you are the Queen, love live the Queen. However, I don't know if I'll ever be able to eat my favorite grilled asparagus again.

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  3. Dustin - Huzzah! You get the fun too! Sorry to hear about your work situation, but with all those fly designs you crank out...and soon to come recipes...you're putting time to good use! Very cool. I'm excited to start seeing Le Cordon Bleu posts! Oh hey, and I just got a vise today, and am excited to try out some of your recipes (fly) here soon.

    Cofisher - hehe! Never doubt. :)Grilling!? That is one way I've never cooked asparagus. I will have to try (well first I'll have to get a grill)...and then get to have the "fun" all over again!

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  4. "like bouquets in shoes, who should have stayed in their vase." love this,haha!

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  5. Somehow you've made me overjoyed that I'm able to smell my own urine...

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  6. what vise did you go with? If you need some tools and some help with materials let me know. I have hooks coming out of my ace! lol

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  7. e.block - I figured you'd appreciate that too...you man woman. ;)

    Brian J. - Hehe! Well good...ummmm, glad I could! So, you're one of the lucky ones too!

    Dustin - It is a used one, an old Orvis. I am sure there will be a posting appearance soon! I think I'm set on supplies, for the time being, but I'll let you know! Thanks! (p.s. that hook situation of yours sounds painful!) ;)

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  8. Love the photo POV...fitting for a bit about pee!

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  9. Is there a way to know whether I'm one of the chosen ones without actually...umm, you know...smelling it?

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  10. We made asparagus over the campfire last weekend, delicious and we are the carriers of this gene. I also remember your Grandma being horrified that you helped to hold the does as they were mounted and bred. She just didn't understand our concept of a "live" science lab.
    Oh and I see you have a little gnome for your "Jiminy Cricket"...fits you well.

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  11. Cofisher - oh, you'll know...it is very obvious. Don't go sticking your head in the bowl or anything. ;)

    sgb - I do remember being horrified about that too. THANK YOU, for all the "horrifying" experiences..."When you get in trouble and you don't know right from wrong
    give a little whistle, give a little whistle..."

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  12. When I first read the title of this post, I figured “semen straw” was a euphemism for um, an apparatus. Turns out it was far worse.

    Great post!

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  13. Oh and if you want to talk more about pee??? How about the smelly bucks

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  14. i didn't know there was any other reason to eat asparagus other than to rush to the bathroom for the wonder that is it's "perfume"...great post!

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  15. Ty - ha! I must admit, I did think about that as I typed the post... :) And, thanks!

    sgb - hmm...I think I may have to write a post about that.

    Sanders - the wonder of its "perfume" is the #1 reason to eat! Glad you enjoyed reading!

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  16. I was wanting Asparagus this week, now if we have it I'm sure I will be exploring your theory.
    ch

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  17. I love asparagus, and now I love that I can smell my asparagus pee. I didn't realize how lucky I am to have the gene!

    -stephanie

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  18. Stephanie - Yes! Be thankful....for, imagine how boring your smell-life would be without that gene! :)

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  19. Say hi to another stinky asp. pee-er!We have masses in the garden this spring.(Stalks not pee-ers.)You sure scored one with this. Such an interesting life......and a great sense of humor.

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  20. Hart - Well hello; and, good to know! Ah, I envy your asparagus patch!

    SS - Ha! Thanks! :)

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  21. I too, am one of the lucky ones with both genes. Except I border on being a super smeller/taster, so I smell a lot of things others don't. I'm also a cook, and am still on my morel bender- how's porkchops with caramelized red onion, browned and then finished in morel, garlic, butter and scallion sound? I've taken too many liberties with the "core" of my blog to get into the cooking. Entertaining as always Erin, keep it up. (I'm currently on a poached egg kick right now, still trying to figure that one out.)

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  22. Fontinalis Rising - my nose is somewhat overactive as well. Sometimes a good thing, sometimes bad! ;) Hey, can I come over, your dinner sounds divine! hmmm, maybe work in poached eggs and morels...? A bend and a kick!

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  23. I'm absolutely curious about this now. Asparagus might make my grocery list this week and I might actually cook it.

    I've only had it a couple of times and I can't remember if there was a smell. The last time I cooked asparagus myself it ended up too soft and I only ate one bite. Maybe I'll get it right next week!

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  24. Red - Over-cooked asparagus is barely palatable, I agree. Just lightly steamed is divine. I hope you have "the gene"...it's so fun! ;-)

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