Sunday, September 25, 2011

Honey (or, as I like to call it: The Product of Bee Bulimia)

Sipping Nectar through a Proboscis
Depending on who you talk to, Honey is or is not an animal food.  Are bees animals? Taxonomy says YES, they are classified under the Kingdom: Animalia as Insects and are therefore part of the Animal Kingdom. Honey is manufactured by a bee, through a bees private bodily functions. It involves an intense and rigorous process of upchucking ingested nectar several times, to and fro the mouths and stomachs of various other bulimic bees. I am neither a Taxonomist, Vegan, Bee Keeper, Scientist, PETA Activist, Captain Obvious, or even a big fan of the taste of honey, but bees sounds like “animals,” and honey “animal food,” to me.
A bee flits about between 150 and 1500 flowers slurping up nectar through their hollow, elongated tube tongues. The nectar travels down the proboscis (elongated bee tongue) to one of the bees two stomachs. TWO STOMACHS! Why is it that a bee can achieve flight with two stomachs, and humans can’t even jump that high with only one stomach? Nature and her cruel jokes...
The first (honey) stomach is situated directly anterior to the second stomach and is used for the temporary storage of collected nectar. The second stomach is used for digestion. When the bee returns to the hive with a full honey stomach, she regurgitates the nectar into the mouths of 3 or more waiting bees. The recipient bees gargle with and swish around the nectar in their mouths and honey stomachs for about 20 minutes. During this time, the bee processes the nectar into honey by mixing it with the enzymes in its mouth and body. 
After the bee spit-nectar churning is finished, the bee again regurgitates the severely abused nectar/honey substance. This time it is vomited up into the honeycomb, where it will undergo its final transformation. After a period of bee wing fanning to evaporate the high water content of the substance, it is the consistency of the standard honey we humans consume. The buzzing sound coming from a hive (even at night when there is no flying) is due to this "forced evaporation" process. 
Honey is a natural sweeter. It is the best substitute for sugar in drinks and food. In addition to being a sweetener it is an energy booster due high concentration of glucose and fructose, which are natural fruit sugars. It is recommended to use a spoonful of raw honey eaten whole, on toast, or in coffee to eliminate lethargy, or before going to the gym. The glucose in honey gives the body an immediate energy boost due to its fast absorption, while the fructose provides more sustained energy by being absorbed slowly, giving it a healthy Glycemic Index (GI). A spoonful of honey gives you an energy buzzzzzz....
Raw Honey is Anti- M, B, V, F, S and O! Raw honey is Anti-Microbial, Bacterial, Viral, Fungal, antiSeptic, and is also an antiOxidant. It contains vitamins B1, B2, B6, C, B5 and B3 and mineral magnesium, potassium, calcium, sodium, sulphur, iron, phosphate, copper, iodine, and zinc. Honey can help combat seasonal allergies! Because pollen from local plants naturally ends up in honey, buy honey in your community for beneficial antigen immunity. For a sore throat, swallow a teaspoon of honey every few hours until symptoms resolve (antimicrobial).  Use honey to dress wounds such as minor abrasions and lacerations by warming it and slathering it in and around the wound to kill bacteria and prevent infection (antibacterial and antiseptic).  Us honey on cold sores to relieve pain and lessen healing time (antiviral). Instead of expensive over the counter products, use honey as a topical treatment for ringworm, athlete’s foot, and yeast infections (anti-fungal). Consuming honey on a daily basis can provide protection from the damaging effects of free radicals which contribute to heart disease, cancer, and other cardiovascular conditions (anti-oxidant). Honey also has impressive anti-inflammatory agents, speeds the repair of damaged tissue and promotes healing, calms the mind, and soothes sore muscles. 

Now I get why they say “busy as a bee!” Bees are definitely the Pimps of the insect world. Male bee-pimps called Drones stay at the hive and send female bees called Workers out to buzz around collecting Nectar. While the Workers are out, Drone Pimps have massive, wild orgies with the Queen bee so she can give birth to up to 2500 of their babies, a DAY.  Drone Pimp Bee Baby Daddys have a sweet deal negotiated with flowers: In return for pollinating flowers with the bits of pollen collected on the back of their legs as they travel, Workers are paid nectar. The Pimp Drone pimps nectar, ingests and regurgitates it several times, then turns it into honey. Then, the bee charges humans cash money for its product.  Bulimic Bee Pimps? I think yes...
Bee Pick up Lines:
  1. Hey baby...puke here much? 
  2. You have something on your stomach. No, the other one. Let me get that for you. *slap*
  3. Your hive or mine? 
  4. My, what a long Proboscis you have! *wink*
  5. Is that your honey stomach, or are you just happy to see me? 
  6. Pimp my Hive!
  7. If you’re not busy Friday, maybe we could go binge and purge together? :)
Bee Facts:
  1. Bees are insects. Insects are animals..they are the 4th most advanced group and cover almost 85% of the animal which bees cover about 3.5% & ants 91%.
  2. Bees are the only insect that produces food eaten by man. 
  3. A hive of bees will fly 90,000 miles, the equivalent of three orbits around the earth to collect 1 kg of honey.
  4. A colony of bees consists of 20,000-60,000 honeybees and one Queen. Worker honey bees are female, live for about 6 weeks and do all the work.
  5. The Queen bee can live up to 5 years and is the only bee that lays eggs. She is the busiest in the summer months, when the hive needs to be at its maximum strength, and lays up to 2500 eggs per day. 
  6. Larger than the worker bees, the male honey bees (also called drones), have no stinger and do no work at all. All they do is mating. Authors Note: WTF? Really? FIGURES. 
  7. Honey Bees in an apparent state of passing puke
  8. The average worker bee produces about 1/12th teaspoon of honey in her lifetime.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Ham (specifically, a Hogs' Hind Leg)

It’s no secret that I’ve barely been cooking long enough to char my oven mitts. Therefore, it should be no surprise that I still blunder about a smidge, and don’t always produce a successful dish, even when I’m following a recipe. I was excited when I received a recipe for baked ham because I love ham, and the only other one I’ve made for a holiday meal had its beauty botched by the person carving it. The recipe called for a 10-12 lb. bone-in ham, which I assumed to be a ready-to-cook ham vs. a ready-to-eat ham by the cooking directions (cook time 16 minutes per lb. of meat). I went off with egg timers ringing to my local grocery and took a speculative gander at the ham selection.  

Ham is cut from the thigh of the hind leg of the Pig and is sold in whole form, or cut further into the Butt or Shank portions. Ham can be sold fully cooked, cured, fresh, or smoked. Fully cooked hams only have to be reheated to be enjoyed as a hot meal, they can even be eaten cold. They can be reheated in the oven, slow cooker, or even on the grill. Cured ham uses either a “wet” or “dry” process for curing. Dry curing ham involves using a waterless compound usually consisting of any of the following: salt, sugar, nitrates, phosphates, and spices that are rubbed on the surface of the ham. The ham is then hung to dry and age anywhere from weeks to years. Wet cured ham is soaked or injected with curing ingredients including: salt, sugar, nitrates, honey, and other seasonings and spices and either cooked or smoked. Fresh ham is equivalent to the cut, flavor, and cooking method of a pork roast. It has the same grayish-pink color when raw, and grayish-white color when cooked. Smoked hams are hung in smokehouses exposed to smoldering hardwood fires such as red oak, hickory, apple, pecan, and maple. The amount of smoke time depends on if the ham will be cooked or “hot smoked” at higher temperatures, or “cold smoked” at lower temperatures to produce an aromatic, but not cooked meat,  

The selection at my local grocery consisted of different cuts and varieties of ready-to-eat hams. I wanted a ready-to-cook ham, or what I thought was a “fresh” ham at the time. Because there was no selection for ready-to-cook ham, I sought the expert advice of the  “meat” department employee. This particular employee initially feigned interest in helping a customer, but after I made inquiries such as “what is a ready-to-cook-ham,” and “what other stores stock ready-to-cook hams,” he decided to hook me up with a ritzy bargain: He was going to go into the butcher department and have them CUT a ham exclusively for me! How ecstatic was I ?!

He came out and plopped a mammoth slab of meat into my carriage and I went off to the extended check out line. I paid a chunk for the select cut, but I didn’t care! I was privy to the exclusive secrets of the meat department! I went home and commenced to following the recipe to a “T,” almost...I hate the taste of cloves, so I left them out.  When I unwrapped the ham I noticed it didn’t look like the traditional deep pink ham I pictured but , I prepared, seasoned, and cooked the ham to the exact recommended time anyway (16 minutes per lb. of meat). 
When the meat was “done” I removed it from the heat, let it rest, and served two relatively small servings from the far end of the roast for my daughter and I.  The taste was decent but exactly like a pork roast and nothing like a ham, and the presentation was lower than an Ant’s behind, though after spending hours preparing a meal there is little that will turn the owner against it, so I ate it with pride. That was until my husband got home...When he walked through the door his gaze immediately located the revolting and offensive (barely) roasted Leg Shank of Pig’s Corpse. He sought out the discrepancies in the ham like a heat seeking missile, instinctively reached for a sharp knife and gashed a large fissure through the center of the Ham/Pork Roast/Underdone Pig Cadaver.  He exclaimed, “Babe, this meat isn’t done,” in his slight Tennessee accent and directed my attention to the raw COOL, PINK CENTER complete with a large BLOODY ARTERY that looked like it was STILL PULSING. *gag*
Needless to say, what I bought was indeed a FRESH ham which needed a way longer cooking time, and not a READY TO COOK ham, which would have been cured and/or smoked.  I’ll not be making THAT mistake again. *gags again thinking of the vile, pulsating vasculature of the Undead Swine Carcass*

An interesting thing I learned while researching for this Featured Ingredient, which is also consistent with my misanthropic distrust of food retailers is the tricksy semantics on Ham labels and packaging. Certain brands remove the center slices of ham when the hind leg is split into “shank” and “butt” ends. That center slice, also known as a “ham steak,” is the best cut from the ham. When the center cut is not sliced awake from the butt/shank it is labeled as “butt half” or “shank half”. When the center cut is sliced away and sold separately as a center cut ham steak, the portion left behind is labeled as “butt portion” or “shank portion.” It would be relatively impossible or improbable for the average consumer to note this variation without knowing what the label means. Innnnnnnnteresting! Thank You lousy, no-good-for-nothing, fascist, shady, anti-consumer, underhanded, jackbooted, buyer-beware, totalitarian Advertising “Geniuses”!!!!

Saturday, February 19, 2011


A Roux is cooked mixture of equal parts flour and a fat such as oil, butter, or animal fat that is used as a flavoring and/or thickening agent. The lighter the Roux, the more thickening power it has while the darker the Roux, the more flavor it has. Roux based sauces, soups, and stews are popular in French, Italian, Hungarian, and Cajun/Creole cuisine. It is common to start with a Roux, and build a dish by layers into a Velouté, a Lasagne Béchamel, or a hearty Gumbo. 
There are different varieties of roux achieved by how long it is cooked. They are identified by their color and distinguished by their taste. Each variety has a unique coloring and depth of flavor as it transitions to the next level, creating an array of roux’s that is perfectly customizable. The easiest roux to concoct is a “white” roux. It is the combination of flour and fat that has only been cooked for a few minutes, retaining its light color. It is the best thickening agent, with the least amount of additional flavor. It can be used to thicken anything from macaroni and cheese to a beef gravy. 
“Blonde” roux is a light golden brown and is cooked for about 15-20 minutes. It is rich, and slightly nutty while still retaining powerful thickening capabilities. It can be used as an all-purpose roux for thickening up sauces, soups, and stews while imparting a “certain something” of flavor. 
“Brown” roux is similar to the color of peanut butter. It has a much nuttier perfume than its predecessor, the blonde roux. In my first experiences with roux, I thought my brown roux burnt and therefore inedible, only to find on subsequent attempts it presented visually and fragrantly the same. At this stage, the flour is quite cooked and would require and increased addition of roux to effectively thicken, but incorporates a bounty of flavor that is well worth the effort of a 25-35 minute preparation. 
“Dark Brown” or “Chocolate” roux resembles well its namesake. This roux can be a bugger because it takes up to 45 minutes of careful attention to cook. Vegetable oils have a higher smoke point than butter, and are recommended for chocolate roux. This roux has the most to offer in the way of toasted, nutty flavor, but the least in the way of thickening a sauce, soup, or stew relative to a white roux. It is easily scalded, in fact it is know to be referred to as “brick” roux when it takes on a reddish color, just before the stage of being burnt and inedible. Take care with chocolate roux. It would be a grave indignity to lose your flour and oil to the trash after having spent 45 minutes in its progressing splendor. 
Now that we’re familiar with our Roux options, let me offer my own experiences in Battle of the Roux that is, my first experience making “chocolate” roux just a few days ago. It started with my decision to make Mulligan Stew, a recipe from the Lafourche Parish of Louisiana. I wasn’t expecting to do anything more taxing than throwing some oil and four into a pan, and stir it while I chopped up some “Cajun Trinity” vegetables. Negative. A Roux is not a patient entity. It doesn’t ask for your patience, or attention. It demands it. It lays the smack-down on your intentions. 

I started with the 1:1 oil and flour. I stirred. I read the advisory in the recipe: “Begin heating on med/low fire to brown Roux to a dark chocolate color. WARNING: Do not rush this or Roux will burn. Any burning/scorching and you must discard and start over. As it darkens you may lower heat.” I stirred. I chopped. I watched the time and became concerned if I messed up this roux, dinner wouldn’t be served until stupid-o’clock. So I focused more attention the roux, and enlisted the help of my ten year old daughter to drag her “pink bench,” to the stove, stand on it, and stir my roux. I chopped, stirred, watched, and sniffed.  I convinced myself after 30 minutes that I was burning the roux, and the acrid stench was disintegrating my nares. I tossed it, and started from scratch. The stages of the next roux proceeded in the same fashion including appearance, fragrance, and time and it became clear my first batch was either flawless, or as “burnt” as the second. Judging by the end result, both attempts were successful but only one of them made it to the bowl. That bowl went on to feed 3 Portuguese people, 2 Italians, 1 Redneck, and 2 Juveniles with rave reviews all around. 
For me, the stages of Roux preparation are almost as identifiable as the stages I went through to cook it. Initially, as I watched and stirred, I became fascinated with the repetitive circular and criss-cross pattern I created in the core of my heavy-bottomed pan. I zigged and zagged. I exposed and covered. I leapt and bound.  I became the messiah of creating roux patterns in the bottom of a stockpot. Then my roux took on a different hue.
I stirred with my angled bamboo spatula. I switched to a whisk briefly and disliked the fact that it didn’t cover as large a surface area, or part the roux the way the bamboo paddle had. I imagined mime pictorials, where a stick figure is shown engaged in the same activity while in the corner a drawing of the sun rises, shines, then sets. I saw myself as that figure, stirring repetitively while around the clock the sun dictated the varying and contrasting actions of the “rest of the world.” I stirred. Then my roux took on a different hue.
After I attained a brown roux, there seemed an end in sight. The roux had indeed darkened over the course of cooking, appearing to be well on its way to a dark chocolate color, as the recipe suggested. However, a quick glance at the clock reminded me that I was also battling suppertime as well as proper roux time. At this stage, I became impatient, and decided to give the roux only half my attention in the form of one unsighted hand stirring while the other went about throwing empty cans in the trash, wiping up spills, etc. My roux was about to take on a different hue when:
A razing pain obliterated the skin on my forearm. Unmatched agony coursed along the nerve endings from my dominant right forearm to my brain. I shrieked in the manner of an easter-egg pastel lover presented with black clothing. Simply: I was burned with roux! Roux burns like the Mother of all Scorches because the flour sticks to skin like glue. Needless to say, my full attention went back Roux-ing and my dear, sweet roux took on it’s final dark chocolate hue. 
The Mulligan stew went onto be one the most delicious stews I have ever tasted. Since I’ve never tasted anything like it before, I’m assuming the flavor has alot to do with the roux. I am now one of roux’s biggest fans and will be inviting him to dinner often! I can’t wait to cook more roux recipes, and maybe even create one of my own. Thank youx, roux! I love youx!

Saturday, February 5, 2011


Tofu is a healthy food that gets a bad name. The bad name it gets is: TOFU. Ugh! Who would want to eat something called TOE-FOO? Is it scraped off of the Toes of Foo? Who is Foo anyway, and how clean are their Toes?  If Tofu doesn’t come from Foo’s Toes, where does it come from? Alternatively, Tofu is called Bean Curd. FAIL #2! I don’t even want to explore what kind of a procedure a helpless bean might be forced to endure to get its curd on. 

Tofu is made from Soymilk. Soymilk goes through a process of coagulation then pressing to remove the liquid whey, resulting in the formation of familiar white Tofu blocks. Soymilk is produced by soaking dry soybeans then grinding them with water, and has an amount of protein comparable to cow’s milk, with less fat. The coagulated protein from soy milk can be made into tofu, just as dairy milk can be made into cheese.  So...Tofu is the cheese of soymilk!? Cheese from Foo’s Toes! More appetizing visuals from yours truly at :)
All kidding aside, Tofu is a healthy and high source of Protein, scraping in at a whopping 10grams for 1/2 cup serving. It is also a good source of Calcium, and a decent source of Iron and other minerals such as Manganese, Selenium, Magnesium, and Phosphorus. Tofu is clipped on calories and fat at 88 and 5g, respectively. Tofu can be used as a polished main dish, or filed away as a side dish. Need a buffer against antioxidants? Tofu has 228mg of Omega 3 fatty acids, and 2019mg of Omega 6! 
My daughter used to eat tofu by the chunk, like it was candy. Sometimes I drizzled a little bit of honey over it and added chopped fruits for a little finger fruit salad. My favorite ways to use tofu are in egg salad, Fetuccine Alfredo, and soup. In egg salad, if you cut tofu the same size as the egg white, you would NEVER know it was there! Trust me! Toss it into your next egg salad then test it out on all of your loved ones and friends. It’s exhilarating knowing you’re providing enhanced nutrition...and getting away with it! In Fettuccine Alfredo it takes the place of some of the more fattening cream and cheese, and again you never know it’s there. For soups, just cube it and toss it in for added nutrition. Tofu is remarkable for its ability to pick up whatever flavors are cooking around it. It’s porous and easily influenced, and it adapts and hides as well as a chameleon. 
Get your hands (and feet) on some Tofu today! I find in the produce section, next to other refrigerated Soy products. It’s sold in a 14 ounce package usually, and can be “extra firm,” “firm,” or “soft.” It is packed in water and must be kept refrigerated and used within 2-3 days once opened, changing the water once daily. Share your Tofu recipes with us!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Where's the Shank?


Do you like my reference to that old Wendy’s restaurant commercial that wondered “Where’s the Beef?” You do? Why, Shank you very much! If you’re very clever, but not too bright, you may have figured out that this weeks Featured Ingredient is: Beef Shanks! 
Beef Shanks first came into my life many years ago, before I even knew what the Shankfest a Beef Shank was. It appeared in the form of the most tender bites of beef in my Vavoa’s Kale Soup, a very traditional Portuguese meal (see my own recipe for Kale Soup on the Recipes page) At the time, being wholly uninterested in cooking, I didn’t know or care what I was eating and didn’t recognize it as beef shank until a couple of years ago. I’ve since used it in Soup, and to make Braised Beef. Braising is a combination cooking technique, where the meat of choice is first seasoned and seared to brown the outside and lock in moisture and flavor, then simmered in a covered pot. This is basically how a crock pot cooks food, with or without searing it first. Beef Shanks are a popular cut of meat to braise because they are invariably tough, coming from the top portion of a cow’s leg. The shank muscle gets alot of use, what with supporting the heifer’s tremendously plump say nothing of the effort it takes to reverse position after being “cow tipped”! 
Beef Shank can be used by a butcher and ground into low fat hamburger meat. When Beef Shank is used in a braising recipe or simmered in a soup/stew, it has an ultra tender and stringy like texture, and mildly gamey flavor that picks up the flavors of the simmering liquid quite well. Don’t try to remove the bones before cooking as they contain lots of flavorful marrow and the meat will literally fall off of them, but be careful when serving not to present a honking bone in Vavoa’s bowl of Kale Soup! If your Portuguese Grandmother is anything like mine, you might find a slipper hurtling through the air upside your head! Always followed by hugs and kisses, rest in peace my beautiful Vavoa, forever in our hearts ♥♥♥
So, where exactly IS the beef? In my grocery store it’s almost always in stock, near the roasts and ground beef. Grab yourself a couple of shanks next time you shop, and toss em into a pot on the stovetop with a few other ingredients for an easy to cook and clean meal. Don’t forget to get started about 5 hours before you want to eat, to give the cooking liquid enough time to break up the sinewy meat. And that’s all the beef I have to beef about beef! 

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Happy International Bacon Day! Ok, International Bacon Day isn’t until Saturday Sept 3, 2011, but any day is a good day to celebrate bacon! In the words of the hilarious bacon-loving comedian Jim Gaffigan, “bacon is like the fairy dust of the food world!” 
So, where does this magical meat come from? In the United States it is almost always the cut of meat from the belly of the Pig, which is then cured using large quantities of salt. Other cuts include meat from the cheeks, loin, shoulders, ankle...and just about everywhere there’s meat! A slice of bacon is also known as a rasher, and an unsliced side is a flitch or slab. Americans consume about 32 billion rashers of bacon a year! 
Relax, don’t feel too guilty! Bacon actually contains Vitamins B1 and B12 and antioxidants Zinc and Selenium! There’s about 42 calories, and 3 grams each of fat and protein in a slice of cooked bacon. That’s only 2% of RDA recommendations for caloric intake...and 31% of protein intake, followed by 68% of fat intake. Yikes! So that’s why bacon should be eaten in moderation. But, it tastes so good! 
For me, no one encompasses the miracle that is bacon more effectively than Jim Gaffigan. If you haven’t seen his bacon skit, your life may not be complete! Go to this link: or search it on the internet. It’s a beautiful, poignant, reverent tribute to this wonderful sliced meat while being hysterically funny at the same time. 
There’s only one more thing I can say about Bacon: It goes with everything, and everything goes with it! It’s the little black dress of a delicious meal. Doubtful there’s a food on earth you couldn’t add bacon to and enhance it’s taste...from meat, to vegetables, to dessert! Not to mention, the grease leftover from frying bacon is a powerful flavor addition and convenient fat to sauté onions, garlic, and other vegetables in. In conclusion: Bacon equals Flavor Highway, route Pig 101 on Interstate Pork. Any questions? :)
Useless and Useful Bacon facts:
  • Bacon Bits sold at the grocery store are actually vegetarian
  • Yorkshire and Tamworth pigs are bred specifically for Bacon
  • The average American eats 17.9 lbs of Bacon per year
  • 11% of a standard pig’s weight is Bacon
  • Bacon has been around since 1500 B.C,
  • The BLT, (Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato sandwich) became popular when fresh lettuce and tomatoes became available year round after the expansion of supermarkets following World War II
  • A 200 lb pig will produce about 20 lbs of Bacon
Eat Bacon and You Will Live! Not healthily, and not for long, but Happily! Bacon, FTW! 

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Black Pepper and Peppercorns

Bring in the New year with a little corny corn! Black Peppercorn, that is! If you’re thinking “why is she writing about boring old Pepper? Duh! I already know everything about that little black speck,” well, read on! I’m fixing to change your way of thinking about our friend, Mr. Peppercorn.
Mr. Peppercorn is the dried, unripe berry fruit of the flowering vine Piper Nigrum.  Yes, he comes from a fruit plant!  Teachers across the world, rejoice! If you’re sick of apples, perhaps a “Peppercorn a Day will keep the Doctor Away”! The most common fruits of this fruits labor is ground black pepper, commonly found in a tin can. I’m certain Mr. Peppercorn will agree: This interpretation of the Peppercorn’s true seasoning capabilities is neglectful abuse at best, and a criminal offense punishable in a court of law, at least! I implore you: Make a mad dash to your spice cabinet and haul that can of black pepper as far away from your precious recipes as possible! Then either go to the store and purchase a pepper mill, or finally put to use that mortar and pestle, still in the box. From your wedding. 20 years ago....before they had fancy registries and whatnot. 
Grinding your own pepper might sound tedious, especially when you’re used to a tin can doing all the work. However, the benefits of citrusy, floral, woody freshly ground peppercorns far outweigh the mild extra bit of work it takes to produce them. The better quality, and usually higher price tag of a premium Peppermill can equal up to seven times the amount of product per turn of the mill, so invest wisely! I recently purchased a moderately priced mill, whereas previously I was using the disposable kind found in the spice aisle at the grocery store. Huge difference! I can now spend more of my time in the kitchen sipping wine, instead of grinding pepper with a cheap contraption. See? The benefits of investing a few dollars beforehand far outweigh the initial slight dwindling of funds.
In addition to being super cool, calm, and collective black pepper is a super food as well. It’s many health benefits include aiding in digestion, having duiretic properties, and impressive antioxidant and antibacterial effects. It is also thought to alleviate hemorrhoids, constipation, and gas. Thank you, Mr. Peppercorn! You taste good, look good, and make me feel good, too! I love you :)