Shakespeare said, “…that which we call a rose / By any other name would smell as sweet…” I want to know what he’d say to the person who couldn’t smell its fragrance. Someone who wasn’t in possession of the full five senses. Someone like me.
I have lost my sense of smell. I am down to four senses. Well, technically my hearing is minimal at best, so more accurately, three and a half.
With this round of the super virus, I have such a severe head cold I am completely congested from the neck up. Besides being alternately stuffy and drippy, my ears are plugged and there is so much fluid in my head, my equilibrium is off. On the bright side, my kids are so tired of me saying, “What? I didn’t hear you!” that I may have broken them of that phrase forever. (Probably not, but I’m going to be positive.) All of those symptoms are annoying, but I could deal with them grudgingly enough– until I became so perpetually stuffy that my sense of smell got muscled out of the picture.
I noticed this last Thursday afternoon. I was eating a bowl of Lucky Charms and I was halfway through it when I realized that I had not tasted the sugary goodness of one single marshmallow. I may as well have been eating a bowl of All Bran for all the taste enjoyment I was getting from my breakfast. I ran to the bathroom to blow my nose, and there it was– a fleeting sense of taste. I WAS eating Lucky Charms! Unfortunately, it only lasted for a brief moment, and I have been taste-less since.
I love food. I love the way flavors taste; I love the curious way they all work together to complement each other. This weekend has been agony. Not being able to taste what I’m eating has taken all the enjoyment out of food. Sure, I have texture. Right now I’m chewing a rather squishy Valentine-shaped fruit snack, and last night I had the most wonderfully crunchy fresh cucumbers on my Subway sandwich, but it’s an empty victory, a tasteless one. Sure the textures are nice to explore, but I could just as easily eat a handful of dog food or chew on a juicy earthworm to get the same experience.
I am left to ponder the following: If you prepare food but you can’t smell it and you can’t taste it, is it really food? And more importantly, is it worth eating?