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The other day while eating some plain yogurt I stopped to consider how much my taste for certain foods have altered. I can safely state everything I enjoy eating in my dotage I detested in my youth. Sooner I’d eat rats in Tewkesbury than consume such things as tomatoes, olives, or salmon; now they make me moan with pleasure.
In medical school I learned the sense of taste dulls in time. The elderly often complain everything chopped tastes the same. Food loses its luster.**  I don’t remember if taste buds evolve.  Does the composition of our taste buds literally change? As a boy I nearly gagged when sipping dad’s beer; now I like beer: dark, bitter, and strong (like my men).

There are five basic tastes: sweet, sour, bitter, salt, and umami. As a boy I seemed to have only ‘sweet’.  Now I have hardly any sweet ones left, for I don’t care for sweets anymore. They have been driven out of my mouth by hoards of umami.

My motto: “If you are tired of pepper, you are tired of life”.  When possible, everything gets a heavy dose of pepper. I like fresh ground pepper, not the nasty powdery rubbish found in plastic or glass containers, the sort you find in diners.

And don’t get me started on hot sauce or peppers. The hotter the better. Perhaps my taste buds have been burned away, thanks to my consumption of spicy hot things.

In my defense, my ability to taste subtle flavors and ‘quality’ items is sharp. This is an impediment, for it makes less expensive foodstuffs taste cheap and tawdry.

Can I help it if I have such good taste?


**A lost of taste is sometimes a sign of a zinc deficiency. If someone complains they have lost the taste of food, a zinc supplement sometimes helps. 

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March 2012

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