Asparagus is awesome….and makes my pee smell…

As an intermission to “how I met my favorite people”, I thought I might report quickly on asparagus and it’s effect on my bathroom “situation”

I’ve always been WELL aware of how asparagus causes my pee to smell weird. Until now, I’ve always thought that the quantity I ate of this delicious green food was proportionally related to the pungency of my next 3 #1’s.


Yesterday I came home to a beautiful meal consisting of Grilled orange marinated chicken breasts with sides of potatoes, green beans and…asparagus.

The problem is that the Fetching Mrs. Pack decided to use the grill I got on craigs list last month to prepare it. I failed to mention to her that the low setting is so hot that food still needs to be monitored like a 6 month old with a high fever. Her efforts produced the following…

As you can see, the finished product was a bit rough. For whatever reason, I decided it best that I taste it to make sure it was actually as burnt as it looked. (for those of you that haven’t been married very long, don’t report on kitchen failures in public.)

It was in fact as burnt as it looked so we enjoyed the rest of our great meal.

An hour later, I had some #1 action to take care of and to my surprise, the asparagus effected my deal as if I had eaten my fill!

The moral of the story is that it doesn’t matter how much you eat, the result is the same…and it’s awesome.

* For the record, Rebecca is among my favorite cooks in the world and it was my shoddy grill that  caused the above disaster, not her ability to prepare remarkable food.

“a few stems of asparagus eaten shall give our urine a disagreeable odor; and a pill of turpentine no bigger than a pea shall bestow upon it the pleasing smell of violets.”…Ben Franklin

It is said that in a venerable British men’s club there is a sign reading “DURING THE ASPARAGUS SEASON MEMBERS ARE REQUESTED NOT TO RELIEVE THEMSELVES IN THE HATSTAND.”


Actual explanation: (provided by Jessica Saras at

Asparagus contains a sulfur-containing compound identified by scientists as methyl mercaptan. A colorless gas, this compound is also found in blood, feces, garlic, eggs, cheese and even skunk secretions. In fact, methyl mercaptan is one of the major contributors to bad breath and flatulence odors. In addition, another ingredient found in asparagus is asparagine. Present in foods like dairy products, seafood, poultry, fish and nuts, this amino acid is known to have a distinctive smell when heated. To metabolize both methyl mercaptan and asparagine, the digestive track must break these compounds down and it is this breakdown that’s responsible for your urine’s strange smell.

One thought on “Asparagus is awesome….and makes my pee smell…

  1. Nobel Prize winning author Gabriel Garcia Marquez (one of the best writers on the planet, IMO) wrote of this in his famous novel “Love in the Time of Cholera.” Dr. Urbino, one of the main characters, loved “the sweet fragrance of asparagus in his urine…”

    It takes a particularly daring sort of person to read that novel, if only because it’s a very slow developing story without a whole lot of a plot.

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