Copyright notice

All content copyright 2010 by Chelsea Biondolillo. Seriously.

Thursday, October 14, 2010


Here is an excerpt from my McSweeney's column contest submission. They were clearly looking for darker, more sensational stuff, such as war, sex, death, and sex. I really liked this little mini essay, but can't for the life of me think of anywhere else to submit it. So here it will lie, under losers.


Chelsea Biondolillo knows a little bit about a lot of things

A column featuring science and nature. Some of the facts presented herein might be made up or misrepresented, but most of them will be cool (and a few will be horrifying).

Beekeepers Anonymous

“We have found that morals are not, like bacon, to be cured by hanging; nor, like wine, to be improved by sea voyages; nor, like honey, to be preserved in cells.” - William Taylor

Some of the toast set are jam people and some are honey people. I am firmly in the jam camp, but I like to keep honey around for peanut butter and banana sandwiches and schmearing on apples.

It would be wrong to call myself a connoisseur: the clover variety tastes just like the blueberry to me. But I can sense the more primal qualities of honey, especially when it has that big chunk of crumbly comb in it, much more than I can in any antiseptic packet of bleached sugar cane or reasonable facsimile thereof. Honey doesn't fuck around. It says, “I'm sweet, I'm sticky, and my dripping is the definition of ooze.” And more than that, honey connects us to history—gluing our past and future selves to us like clover-drunk bees. Or as Robert Smith once said, “I tremble stuck in honey / honey, cling to me.”

Honey is the digestive by-product of bees. One bee “drinks” the nectar from a flower; another then siphons it from the first bee's belly and “chews” it for awhile. Finally, a third packages it up in a honeycomb and seals it with beeswax scraped from its abdominal wax pores for later use. The bees store honey to feed the colony in winter, when flowers will be nonextant. A beekeeper must have the finesse to harvest enough honey to keep the bees working, but not so much that they will, fearing starvation, swarm off to look for an unmolested hive.

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