Wednesday, March 30, 2011
On Asparagus and Your Stinking Tinkles
I wanted to talk about asparagus making your tinkles smell funny. It's not a culinary conundrum, per se, but it's one of those cool "Did you know..." factoids that you can bring up at a cocktail party. (If you're cool with discussing bodily functions at cocktail parties, which I'm always up for.)
So asparagus makes your tinkles smell funny, but you may not know this because that's how your DNA was written. Yeah, I know! Keep reading. Asparagus has a fancy sounding amino acid in it called methionine. Methionine contains sulfur, and I think we all know what sulfur smells like. (And tastes like, if you went to my summer camp in the mid 80's. Thanks for that learning experience of sulfur water, Camp Crucis.) So when the methionine leaves your body, it gives off that potent sulfuric smell. But here's the crazy thing- not everyone can smell it! Only about a quarter of the population (of the entire planet, because asparagus is eaten everywhere) can actually detect the smell, but it's still there, plain as day and they're blissfully unaware. The rest of us have to experience the asparagus aftermath, which I consider a hidden talent, genetically encoded into my DNA.