Don’t be casting aspersions on my asparagus! Or said another way, please refrain from tarnishing the reputation of my flowering perennial vegetables.
If you haven’t seen it, in yet another hilarity of American politics, a turn of phrase has gone mad. From my own vantage point, there is very little that could slander the springtime goodness of asparagus. Tender young shoots erupting from earthen beds ready to be sautéed, grilled or roasted. The healthful qualities of these gems not only fight against obesity and disease but also against any vilifications cast their way. Except perhaps one.
There are some people who smell a distinct sulfuric odor in their urine after consuming asparagus. But this doesn’t happen to everyone and further, there are some who produce the odor but cannot smell it. The latter is referred to as a specific anosmia – an inability to smell one particular odor. Marcia Pelchat from the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia has found that specific anosmia is linked to a variation in olfactory genes. While we’ve called it out for asparagus, Pelchat believes that each one of us all have a few of them and therefore, we are all living in our own scented sensory worlds.
These olfactory genetics or smelling genes explain a lot. Someone in your house loves cilantro (coriander) but someone else thinks it tastes like soap. Things simply smell and taste different to different people. And, because of the thousands of smells that we are constantly coming in contact with, it’s no wonder that our senses check out on occasion. Because our tongues only taste four basic elements; sweet, salty, bitter, or sour, the majority of our food’s flavor is derived from its smell. Is there another link her to greater issues about how we view our world and differing points of view?
Whether or not there is a connection, the bottom line is that each one of us has unique sensory experiences. If you and your significant other get a whiff of the same hot chocolate chip cookies wafting from the oven, you may be having two distinct smelling experiences. That individualism by itself suggests to me that no one should be casting aspersions on my asparagus!
Here’s the inspiration for the post:
Asparagus & Grains
- long grain brown rice
- handful of lentils varying colors
- wheat berries
- salt, to taste
- 1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
I prepare this mixture as if it was rice with olive oil and sea salt and water. It cooks easily in a microwave for those have a rice setting or on stove top. You’re certainly not limited to the grains that I have listed. Make this a great excuse to clean out the pantry. Once finished, this can be used as a side or as I do below in the base for a main meal.
Stir fry ingredients:
- 1 Tbs. olive oil
- 1/2 yellow onion, diced
- 2 cloves of green garlic, minced
- 4 medium carrots, chopped
- 3 cups spinach, sliced very thin (other greens will work too)
- 1/2 bunch springtime asparagus, cut in 3/4 inch segments
Warm the olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and saute until soft. Then add carrots and asparagus and continue to cook until these vegetables are almost done. Add the spinach and stir it a couple of times. This will reduce quickly. Ladle in the grains and mix gently. Add about 1/4 cup of water and allow to heat through.