April A-Z: T is for Taste

When I first tested positive for Covid three and a half months ago, I still had my sense of taste. It had definitely altered a bit as the initial infection took hold, because I found for the first few days everything tasted metallic and yuk, but then slowly my sense of taste disappeared entirely, taking my sense of smell with it. It’s so weird eating and drinking stuff and not being able to smell it or taste it at all. Just when you most want a nice cup of tea to make yourself feel better, or to comfort yourself with some old familiar flavours, it’s so disheartening not to be able to taste anything.

I hadn’t ever realised before just how much my enjoyment of cooking depends on my sense of smell and taste – I found I was still able to make my usual food favourites by rote, seasoning things from years of habit, but frustratingly when it came to eating all I could discern were textures rather than tastes. I learned how strange some food feels in the mouth without your taste-buds zinging things up. Pancakes feel like rubber, chicken soup feels slimy, meat just feels chewy and heavy. If I closed my eyes, I’d probably be unable to name exactly what was in my mouth. If I knew what I was eating, I’d remember the expected taste and try to conjure it up.

As the weeks passed my sense of smell slowly returned first, along with a slight restoration in taste in that I could once more differentiate salty or sweet, spicy or sour, but little else. Suddenly food would smell good again, but still taste disappointingly bland and blah. Then things started to taste really weird for a while as I began to recognise a partial taste but nothing else – for example delicately smoked fish tasted so strongly of smoke I couldn’t even eat it. The sweetest green veg tasted really bitter, even good quality milk chocolate tasted mainly of cloying fatty solids, and wholemeal bread somehow tasted earthy – the balance of intensity was all wrong.

But more recently, thankfully there has been a marked improvement in the subtleties of taste I can decipher. We were eating crunchy home-made garlic bread the other day and I got really excited because I could actually properly taste the luscious herby garlic butter in my mouth – sadly it only lasted for a moment, for one meal, but at least it was there, and it’s a start! To be honest I really miss those delightful nuances of flavour dancing so delicately on my tongue, and I’m so tired of tasting all or nothing with my blundering blunt-instrument taste-buds. But I have hope that things will continue to improve day by day – watch this space! 🙂

For this year’s April Blogging from A-Z Challenge I’m aiming for an alphabetical exploration of my personal thoughts and feelings on the continuing Covid 19 pandemic one year on, using a mix of poetry, pics and ponderings…

12 thoughts on “April A-Z: T is for Taste

  1. I can remember having a mug of Horlicks but all I could taste was the sweetness, previously I didn’t even realise is was sweet! My son brought me twiglets because I craved salt and also bags of salty popcorn.
    Tea was the last taste to be returned and oh how I yearned to taste a cup of tea more than anything else. There are still days when tea doesn’t taste ‘right’ but thankfully that doesn’t happen too often.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, my symptoms began in mid December, but worsened just before the isolation period finished. I was in hospital on the eleventh day and told I was still infectious.

        My son Joss began showing symptoms three or four days before me on Sat 12th December (he arrived for the weekend the day before). He was feeling well again by his seventh day. On Christmas Day his taste buds were back to normal but he still cannot smell anything and that’s the only long term effect he has. He got away lightly!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I lost my sense of taste at the end of 2019 after surgery on my inner ear, but I didn’t lose my sense of spell. I probably won’t ever regain my sense of taste and now I find I eat food for survival rather than enjoyment. I’m happy for you (and envious) that your sense of taste slowly returning.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s a really difficult thing to get used to, sorry to hear you’ve lost your sense of taste permanently, that’s a tough one. I remember you mentioned it after your surgery, but I hadn’t realised at the time it would be forever… 😦

      Liked by 1 person

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