The Idiot Gardener

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building shit and hunting, all done in a piss-poor manner. It is not suitable for the

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vegetarians (and those other ones that only eat fish and the occasional bacon

sandwich - I think they're called 'hypocrites'), those who practice any

manner of folk singing or dancing, people named Colin or fans of Barry Gibb.

To fart, or not to fart; that is the question!

As a gentleman, I don’t like to expel gas from my anal tract in front of my sweetheart. Obviously, I mean that when my sweetheart is before me, I refrain from expelling anal gas; not that I have an anal tract in front of said sweetheart, positionally speaking.

Not for me the intentional explosion of sulphuric gaseous waste, loud with the sound of vibrating buttocks, before asking, “Do you want that slicing?” Not for me the humour of manhandling my darling’s head down betwixt my thighs before letting out a serpentine hiss of noxious gas. No, to me these actions show a deep lack of respect.

Now, regular readers will know that I am no prude. Puritans cross the street when they see me approach, and small children huddle behind their mothers’ skirts for fear of my obnoxiousness casting an irredeemable shadow over their innocence. I am neither anal nor precious, nor do I give a tupenny toss for social nicety. I also do believe that a certain level of torment is a necessity to keep a relationship on an uneven – and therefore intersting – keel.

So, why the belief that farting on or near a sweetheart is ungracious and vile? Here’s why. It’s our old friend, science, once more.

The human olfactory organ can be considered as a very sensitive sieve. As the air passes through, small particles of matter are trapped, and their essence is realised as smell. There is a theory that many chefs are overweight because of their constant exposure to the odours of food. When you smell beef, that’s because tiny particles of beef and the its essences have become trapped in your olfactory sieve (that’s your nose, in case you aren’t following this babble). If you smell fat, that’s because fat is in the air, and on the mucous membranes that make up the olfactory sieve, as I like to call it.

When someone farts, they are expelling tiny particles of excretion. That’s right, there are pieces of their pooh in the air. Don’t try the “my farts don’t smell” line, because the particles are still there; they just haven’t rotted much in the bowel to have that decaying ganky stench. They’re fresh pooh, not old pooh.

Now, I wonder whether those who fart in front of their wives and girlfriends, thinking it acceptable, would be so forgiving if I took a dump on their loved ones’ noses, and forced the debris up their nostrils with the handle of a wooden spoon? No! It’s not so funny now, is it?

Don’t get upset with me about these images; I didn’t make things this way. God did. I’m just telling you the facts.

Of course, this does impose a slight issue when it comes to artichokes. Jerusalem artichokes, often nicknamed fartichokes, create an abundance of anal gas. There is a theory that cooking said fartichokes with Winter Savory reduces or even eliminates the creation of turbulent bottom fumes. Does it? Well…

I have the fartichokes (first crop came out last week) and I have the Winter Savory. The former is here because I love their rich nutiness; the latter for its fart-reducing powers. As a herb, it adds nothing in the way of taste or odour. I grew it solely to have with the fartichokes.

Test 1 consisted of a supper of Stilton and Artichoke Souffle, followed by Roast Venison Loin with Artichoke Gratin. No Winter Savory was used. We ate at 7pm. Both Mrs IG and I were then smitten with the farts from approximately 3am to 11am the next day, tailing off to very occasional outbreaks ending at around 7pm. In short, from eating to the end of the fart cycle, a mere 24 hours passed.

Then came the test. Cream of Artichoke soup with Winter Savory, followed by Pork Stew with Artichokes and Winter Savory. Again we ate at 7pm. Detail is all in science.

This time the turbulence kicked in at around 3am, and continued with verocity until around 11am, when it tailed off with occasional gusts until around 7pm. Another 24 hour stint.

Winter Savory doesn’t add taste or odour, and it can be a bit like chewing up pine needles (and chew you must to get the anti-gas properties). Of course, as those anti-gas properties are a thing of myth, I’d suggest this.

Just eat the artichokes and fart. It is the only way. Winter Savory changes nothing. You will fart. But please, don’t make your loved ones inhale your output, or I will come around to your house with my wooden spoon.


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25 thoughts on “To fart, or not to fart; that is the question!

  1. Edith Hope

    Dear IG, Your soufflé, soup, slow roast and stew all sound absolutely delicious….and with an artichoke gratin…sublime! You are obviously an extremely talented cook.

  2. Kyna

    I must tell you, Scientist to Scientist, your experiment was flawed.

    When you are performing an experiment, you must have the proper controls in place or the results are skewed.

    Old people are, by nature, farty. With all due respect to Mrs. IG of course. You’ve never revealed her age (like a gentleman, and I use that term loosely), but I’m ass-uming (that’s as far as I will go with fart puns)she’s somewhere in the general area of your age. Which is old. Unless you’re a cradle-robber like my husband. In which case you have my apologies, and I will allow the results of your anal-ysis (ok, I couldn’t resist one more) to stand.

    This is science, Man! Accuracy is imperative.

    • Richard Wren

      Since the two subjects were constants in the experiment, it still holds. Winter Savoury has no effect. I grew Artichokes for one year but couldn’t stand the gaseous fallout. I really liked them and the proof that Winter Savoury has no effect is reassuring. I would hate to think that I dug them all up for no reason. Keep up the good work for us idiots.

  3. xoxoxo

    But wait–what about the gas on the nights you do not eat artichoke? How do WE know you two aren’t world champion farters EVERY night starting at 3am?

  4. thyme2garden

    My sister used to say that when you smell someone’s fart, their little pooh particles were traveling up your nose. We all thought she was just being crazy. Maybe she was onto something!

  5. Urban Dirt Girl

    There you stand with your Farts headline on Blotanical surrounded by a sea of sunshine and sugar coated daisy-like blog posts.

    You are a breath of fresh air…..

    The only strong feeling I have regarding farts is the anger I feel toward airline passengers who fart on planes. Yes we can’t hear you but NO, that doesn’t make it right.


  6. Damo

    I’ve read that artichokes make your farts smell less (if you suffer from overly smelly wind in the first place I suppose). Shame the winter savoury didn’t work.

  7. Mal's Allotment

    I’ve heard of aromatherapy but this is taking it too far.

    BTW I grew Summer Savory this year. I know because I discovered it under the wigwam of runner beans when I was dismantling it after the frost. Smelled a bit like thyme.

    p.s. How many pounds have you grown?

  8. joey

    Dinner sounds delightful and love you for the simple fact you are a true/cook gentleman unlike some, who treasure/relive the moment, by pulling the bed covers over their head (and those of love ones) in remembrance 🙂

  9. Gary

    Hi Mr IG,
    I must say that I have never eaten artichokes or winter savoury, and now probably never will. Sprouts and cabbage ‘do it’ for me, probably why we always seem to be on our own for Christmas dinner and Sunday lunches I guess. Brilliant post!

  10. Plantaliscious

    Thank you for doing the testing so that I don’t have to. I am very happy to know that I never need to bother with Winter Savory. I shall, however, bother with fartichokes, they are delicious, and worth the side-effects (when said side-effects are carefully managed, of course…)

  11. Carolyn

    EAT MORE ARTICHOKES!!! I have just read that your body will get accustomed to the gas, so that is your cue to eat more. Unless of course you are a naturally farty person, in which case you will still fart!

  12. Meredith

    Ah, you know how to make me laugh. And you also know how to simultaneously gross me out. So glad you’re gentlemanly to Mrs. IG — and also glad now that I’ve never even tasted a Jerusalem artichoke. 😉


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