Flavor Finesse, Finally!
I hope you are doing well and you’re not struggling to recover from covid taste and smell loss (anosmia), like I have been. If you happen to be trudging through the mother-of-all unpleasantries (anosmia), or know someone who is, I want to share my experience of what has and hasn’t worked insofar as regaining taste and smell [post covid].
I had a mild case of covid. Apparently, “mild” cases result in anosmia more than severe cases. For me, the connection between taste bud neurons and the brain are not easily understood. That is why this article explains idiosyncrasies of the central nervous system relating to taste ~ middle-school style ~ (i.e. layman's terms). Sometimes things are better explained in a "junior," non-stressful manner in order to be adequtely processed, IMHO. I hope it helps you understand the taste bud/brain connection better too.
Smell returned relatively quickly for me, within a week. But, sadly, taste did not follow closely behind. Small hints and teases arose but quickly faded. Loss of taste is not the end of the world but there is a definite psychological impact of disillusionment. Watching others enjoy fancy, delicious dinners while I tasted zero was disheartening at best. Not to mention I found myself taking additional bites in earnest only to be ADDing flavorless calories onboard.
Like most people, I googled the heck out of how to regain taste/smell post covid. You name it, I tried it:
Essential oil aromatherapy
Warm castor oil in nostrils
I tried EVERYTHING!
Albeit, there was one thing I hadn’t tried...until last week: A char-burnt orange mixed with brown sugar.
I knew about the viral orange craze on tiktok but after watching the video, and reading a couple negative reviews, I chose to pass. It looked scary and I was skeptical.
Last weekend, Diana’s friend, Jan, visited us. Jan asked me if I’d tried virtually everything on my list above. Yes, yes, yes, I said. And then she asked about the char-burnt orange thing! I said: That’s the only thing I haven’t tried. From there, I jumped up, bolted to the refrigerator, flung open the door and grabbed the single orange inside.
Jan, Diana and I sprang into action and followed the video’s instructions. From time to time the orange caught fire, sparked and emitted an odd odor :-) But no matter! What more could I ask for...there were two Georgia Tech grads in my kitchen conducting a viral tiktok experiment (that sounded delicious btw) in order to help restore my flavor. What did I have to lose!?
Once the orange was black enough to their liking, they cut off the skin, gutted the warm pulp into a bowl and mixed a teaspoon of brown sugar into it. Diana said, “here, hurry, you’re supposed to eat it warm!” Flavor had indeed already begun to return for me, but typically I would taste the first bite of something and the flavor would disappear by the second bite. Well, the brown sugary, orange concoction was delicious from the first bite clear to the last bite. That in and of itself was major progress.
Without question, after eating a char-burnt orange with brown sugar my taste continue(s) to improve. That very evening I enjoyed everything at dinner, including pita bread which is bland. Currently, taste-ability is holding steady at 90% for me. And, frankly, I recommend everything else on my list too. What do you have to lose?
My assessment of the recipe above is 100% positive. I wish I had tried it sooner but am so very thankful that Jan visited us last weekend and shared her enthusiasm, motivation and kind spirit to try something new on my behalf. Thank you Jan! And thank you to the Jamaican man who created the video to begin with.
Cheers to delicious flavors, friends and always God!