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What food felt like to me, early in my smell loss journey

Oh, the disappointment!

I wrote the menu, right, as a bit of a joke back in 2014. "Dinner at the Anosmia Restaurant" was written when I was still struggling with smell loss and parosmia in particular. Every meal in a restaurant felt like torture. Nothing appealed.  The smells in restaurants, as weak as they might have been, felt sick-making. Even decoding the food on the basis of texture was a disagreeable chore.

Looking at this several years later, it does bring to mind a couple of points. Parosmia aside, there is much to consider about food beyond what we usually think of as straight “taste”. Broken down into attributes like aroma, true-taste (is it salty? sweet?), texture, mouthfeel, temperature--and how these things contrast one another in your mouth--means that every mouthful is worthy of consideration. One of the first meals I remember enjoying eating after my smell loss was a salad with fried goat’s cheese, toasted pine nuts and roasted figs--all on a bed of greens. It was simultaneously salty, crunchy, sweet, gooey, bitty, and more.

I invite anyone with a smell problem to try this if you have a problem with food: break down your observations of your food to smaller and smaller experiences. It’s like the “raisin mindfulness” experiment. Look at the smallest mouth experience as if through a microscope. There’s always more going on than meets the eye--or nose.

Above all, don't give up. We need to eat to live (even if we no longer live to eat). Keep trying, and keep looking for a small number of foods that you can take pleasure in.