More than thirteen months have passed, but our body oddities (boddities?) have ceased to desist. Today’s corporeal affliction affects my ability to enjoy sweet tastes. Case in point: this ice cold MUG root beer straight from the fridge is collecting condensation on the lunch table. It remains opened but only once sipped. Why ignore my otherwise delectable chilled beverage? On the one hand, I recently made a personal promise to stop drinking soda (not hard until I returned home from school where my parents keep a fully stocked refrigerator), but more importantly here, I have pine mouth.
Haven’t heard of pine mouth? Neither had I until this very morning. Co-blogger Helen made reference to this problem in an earlier entry in her other blog, found here:
“Pine nuts, says Wikipedia, are "too small to be of great value as a human food." Unshelled, they become rancid within a few days. Sometimes pine nuts can cause a taste disturbance in the consumer up to 3 days after consumption -- this is known as "pine mouth." Despite all these downsides, pine nuts are commonly used in savory foods, especially Middle Eastern foods. My mother puts them in spinach pie. Toasted, they take a on a sweet, slightly burnt, crunchy taste. Thrown in with dried wild blueberries and a little bit of lemon, they can even be delicious. And Wikipedia said they were of little worth! I should edit that.”
Pine mouth made a big splash in food media circles last spring when foodie blogs like Grub Street, Serious Eats, and Epicurious all ran stories about the unexplainable medical mystery. Since then articles have popped up from time to time covering this flavor aberration, but science has yet failed to articulate a definitive cause for the chemical/metallic/bitter taste that I’m dealing with in the aftermath of a recent pine nut consumption experience (the offending meal was a chicken and pasta salad topped with toasted pine nuts eaten last Saturday night).
As things stand now, I can eat but I don’t like it. Sweet foods are especially disagreeable (tart fruits completely unpalatable), but even savory foods like a recent cheese sandwich were unpleasant going down, and leave an uncomfortable aftertaste for at least thirty minutes. The only thing that tastes like it should is water.
Today’s post may not read like a traditional celebration of the self, but I’m trying to look on the brighter side of things. Together we can mourn for the temporary confusion going on inside my mouth, but experience would suggest that within a week’s time my flavor receptors will be back on track, giving me some time to fantasize about future meals. In the meantime I’ll be fasting and gargling sodium bicarbonate.