losing your sense of smell & taste

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one of the potential symptoms of parkinson’s is losing your sense of smell, which in turn lessens your sense of taste. foods become more bland and not as interesting. my coffee in the morning used to be an incredible experience of smell and taste first thing in the morning and although i still love the experience that comes with coffee and my morning routine, the coffee itself is definitely not as flavorful as it used to be.

as i’ve mentioned in a previous post, it might also be contributing to why my sweet tooth has increased. my taste buds might be seeking more extreme flavors to get satiated. so it can be easy to go overboard with salt or sugar while cooking without knowing it. so here are few things that can help boost the flavor quotient of food.

  1. vinegar & lemon juice - both of these can bring an extra depth of flavor to most dishes. you can add a tablespoon of vinegar during cooking or at the end, but use fresh lemon juice at the end of cooking to keep the flavor bright.

  2. citrus zest - aside from the juice, the zest with all the oils adds a wonderful intense citrus flavor. zest the fruit first and then juice it.

  3. spices - you can go in so many different directions with just the use of spices. spice blends are also a great. i have been loving sumac lately.

  4. herbs - fresh or dried they can add tremendous flavor to foods. if you can have a few pots of them growing, even better. something as simple as a large handful of chopped mixed herbs in an omelet can elevate the dish to something special.

  5. condiments - mustards, hot sauces, ko chu jang, harissa, & miso are all great ways to add an umami bomb of flavor.

  6. bitter vegetables - radicchio, endive, broccoli rabe, and mustard greens. adding these to salads, soups, stir fries can add a pop of interesting flavor.

  7. pomegranate molasses - this used to be an exotic ingredient but now can be found in many grocery stores or online. it’s thick and has a sweet and sour flavor and is delicious. add a spoonful to your vinaigrette, drizzle it over roasted vegetables, or brush it over cooked meats while they are resting.

    many of these spices and condiments will last for a long time, so i have a ton of them in my fridge. that way i can cook simply but change the direction with a different spice. i can pick up a package of chicken thighs and pan fry them with a mustard sauce, or smear them with a ko chu jang sauce and bake them, or simmer them in a curry sauce.

    have you started losing your taste and smell and if so what are some other ways that you add flavor to your foods?

    ~kai