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Sense(ible) eating

May 4, 2011 - Steve Murch
Imagine not having the ability to taste food. The only thing you can do is eat when you are hungry. The latter would be effective in quelling the hunger or probably limit you to eating only as a nutrition/survival exercise. But what fun is that? A huge part of eating is the experience.

Jason Feifer doesn't get to enjoy that part of the eating experience. He has severe hyposmia, which means he has such a limited sense of smell that it's nearly non-existent. Feifer writes about his experience in the current edition of ”Men's Health Magazine. For him, eating is, just eating. Or at least it was.

Feifer has learned to enjoy aspects of eating by enjoying the textures. He jokes that he mixes up foods based an textures in combinations we probably wouldn't enjoy because of how we taste food.

This whole story got me thinking about what I'd do if I couldn't enjoy food the way I currently do. I'm not sure I would change or not. I suppose the upside to it would be able to eat foods that are good for me but that I dislike. Nutritionally speaking I'd be better off. Enjoyment and fulfillment – not so much.

The tastes really make a meal and imagine not being able to truly enjoy a perfectly grilled steak, or just the right bite from a spicy meal. Sure, you can enjoy the heat from a spicy meal and a steak's texture is part of the experience, but you're missing that other part of the meal.

I have to admit, part of me admires Feifer for being able to overcome his limited sense and still find a way to enjoy food. Perhaps growing up without it, or at least not having it when your more adventurous eating side appears, would help. To have it taken away after years of eating would be devastating.

Personally,if it happened to me I'd probably settle for peanut butter sandwiches (there's always a challenge of getting off the roof of your mouth), steak (hey, there is texture and it is steak after all), a nice crisp apple, and a little of this and that. Mostly, I would sulk that I lost the enjoyment of food.

That makes Jason Feifer a lot better person than me.


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