“Questions must be understood before they can be answered,” a wise person said. Here are some to add to our understanding:

Q: I recently heard that egg whites have no nutritional value at all, and that the whites are what turn into the chicken’s feathers (yuck). For years, I have eaten only ‘fake eggs,’ which are primarily egg whites — do they have no nutritional value? Am I just eating a bunch of feathers?

A: Well, it is true that everything inside an egg contains the genetic code and the building material (nutrients) to become a chicken one day ... feathers and all. But if you eat the egg instead of hatching it, your own genetic code will use those same nutrients to make blood cells, fingernails and eyelashes ... not feathers or beaks.

And to answer your question, egg whites are perhaps the best source of high quality protein on the planet. Whoever told you they have no nutritional value is full of feathers.

Q: Could you tell me about what minerals/vitamins/nutrients end up in the water used to steam or boil veggies (and fruits, if it applies)?

I’m asking because I used to dump the water from pots used to steam veggies down the drain.

Then, I realized there are nutrients of some sort in the water, so began dumping the water on our rose bush. The rose bush thrives on this water. Because of that, and reading about saving the water for soup stock, I started putting it in containers in our fridge.

I rarely get around to making soup, and one night drank some of the cold water. It was refreshing and tasty (tasted like the veggies steamed in it). I am now very curious about its potential nutrient content.

Would you say the leftover water at the bottom of the pan is healthy for someone to drink?

A: Why yes, it is. Water soluble nutrients like B-

vitamins and vitamin C as well as some minerals like calcium, iron and zinc can all leach into the water when vegetables (and fruit) are cooked. Nutrition researchers from the University of California at Davis confirm the age-old advice to cook vegetables quickly in less water.

And, they say, we can increase our daily nutrient intake if we will also consume the water used for cooking.

Use it soon, however. Minerals will survive in storage but vitamin C won’t last long (even in raw vegetables).

If you don’t intend to use cooking water soon for soup or a sauce, sip it for a seriously super nutritional side-effect.

By the way, vitamin C seems to be the most flighty of nutrients. It is lost during storage, by heat and exposure to air.

Cutting an orange into small pieces, for example, exposes it to more air and increases the loss of vitamin C. Best advice to get the most vitamin C out of a fruit or vegetable? Pick it or buy it and eat it.