Thursday 3 July 2008

I has no Flava...

Much is being said about taste and flavour and ageing and whatnot over at Gobbler's little nook at the moment. And it's odd that I should have the head cold from Hell while we're discussing taste (or lack thereof).

Simply, I can't taste a thing.. nothing.. nada. Which is good, when you consider that Strepsil's Zinc lozenges taste like cheap cask wine after you've brushed your teeth. The down side is that NOTHING has flavour, but I can still experience texture.

And that is seriously weird. And very off-putting. I revisited Tuesday night's pork belly Rogan Josh last night, and Gobbler's discussion was very much on my mind, so I focused on the mouth feel of the food, rather than the taste.

And I got to tell you pork belly chunks without flava are naaaaaaasty. This dish, which I would normally use all sorts of wanky superfluous words like "sumptuous" and "unctuous" becomes a very unpleasant experience. The pork skin is rubbery and chewy, the fat leaves a greasy mouth feel, and the bits of meat are akin to rolled up pieces of paper. It was like chewing on a condom filled with tissue scraps and lard.

A bag of potato chips (Salt and Vinegar) becomes a mouthful of wood chips that disintegrate to soggy cardboard and another greasy mouthfeel.

A pear is powdery, and leaves you feeling like you've coated your tongue with rice flour.

Noodles are nauseatingly slippery, as they scuttle across your tongue, with no flavour to give them any anchor in a food experience.

Same for green vegetables (in this case some brocollini). It was fibrous and chewy, and with no taste factor was like masticating a green twig.

Which is pretty much what brocollini is!

Slow braised chunks of beef feel like a wad of tissue paper is slowly disintegrating in your mouth. The individual strands of muscle become tasteless pap and the FEEL of the fibres is quite unpleasant.

Think about what our food LOOKS like... try and take away the flavour... and that's pretty much what it FEELS like.

It is any wonder then, that people in hospitals and care facilities lose interest in food? (and thus lose weight). If this is what awaits us as out taste buds deteriorate, either due to medication, pathology or aging, then it really is a worry.

Without flavour, foods, even my usual favourites, have become nauseatingly hard to digest. I know I needed that beef, vegie and noodle soup last night, to combat my lurgie but chewing on a fibrous wad of nothing, or slurping up soup only to have your cheeks coated in an oleaginous film, is NOT my idea of a food experience. Not matter HOW much I know I need it.

I can only hope that the antibiotics kick in soon, and I gets my flava back.


Ed Charles said...

Once I had this wine which seemed to be the most amazing I'd ever tasted. I've never managed to repeat the experience probably because I've never ever had so much snot blocking my nose since then. I was out with the heiress to the Reliant Robin for tune and she didn't touch the stuff. I probably shouldn't have either. It must have been really noxious.
NB: Old Japanese remedy includes vodka soaked scarf round neck and spring onions up nose. Seriously.

purple goddess said...

spring onions?

Up yer schnerter?




Think I'll stick to the Strepsil's and Codral.

Thanks for the heads up, tho!!

thanh7580 said...

I like your descriptions PG. When I'm sick, I have no appetite either because I can't taste a thing and it all just tastes like awful porridge or something. It's strange how the wonderful texture that you normally associate with food is so different without the taste.

Can you try out chocolate and oysters (not together) as those are two textures I normally love. How do they taste without the flavour.

I was discussing with Duncan and Jackie about how foods would be like minus the smell aspect. That's an experiment I think I shall try just to see what things taste like.

Anonymous said...

I'm loth to say it, but your observation lends weight to the need for the industry which helps processed-food companies produce their wares. The knowledge that industry has of how to simulate, replace, enhance, either orally or (heaven knows!) neurologically, will probably be very valuable as we approach an advanced age with, perhaps, taste impairment.

purple goddess said...

It's really very distressing. Day 3 of this cold and my taste still hasn't returned. Eating has now become a chore.. in fact I really don't look forward to food. Maybe because I am such a food obsessive and expect to taste, that somehow makes my affliction even worse. Someone with the "eat to live" phylosophy probabaly wouldn't mind, but I am finding it really disheartening.

I'd almost rather not eat.

Yesterday's banh mi was vile... the texture of the crunchy bread against the slippery-ness of the meats was most off-putting.

Honestly?? I have some spicy beef noodles for lunch, and I am thinking of just going without.. even tho I know I'll feel all faint and wan by 3.00.

If this is what it is like to age and lose your taste, I think more thought needs to go into the nutritional value of hospital meals. If I am going to choke down anything, I want to get the most bang for my buck.

Or, as Duncan suggests.. get a bloody neurological implant to get my taste back.

Bah Humbug!

Agnes said...

Eeergh!! I don't think I've ever had a cold so bad that I couldn't taste things. It sounds truly awful. Hope you start to feel better soon.

Anonymous said...

I hope you get better PG, that photo of you really shows the cold taking hold, you look so different! LOL!
Seriously, that cats tongue looks quite, how does one say, ENGORGED!
Is there a recipe for cate tongue that anyone knows of? Not for me, for a mate.

Jazz said...

The way you describe pork belly... um... damn, I'm not sure I'd try it even with my tastebuds intact. That sound NASTY!

But I'll take your word for it that it's lovely when you can taste it.