Fresh from the oven, the gingerbread is cooling. This is one of my favorite times. The scent of ginger and spice is all over the apartment. I imagine that even my neighbors can smell it. As I write, I'm inhaling deeply. Enjoying it and thinking how it will taste after dinner later on.
Smells and taste are so integral to the holiday season. The scent of pine can bring you back to Christmas ten years ago. Smelling peppermint and chocolate can bring you back to your childhood. The smell of chocolate chip cookies practically writes the script of my life!
But what if you suddenly couldn't smell or taste? I would imagine that Thanksgiving would be a very difficult day. Not able to enjoy the simple taste of turkey, gravy, stuffing, or even a sip of cider.
I'm reading the book Season to Taste, by Molly Birnbaum and have found it quite profound. If there is a season to taste, then this is it. The beginning of the holiday season.
Some of you might have read Birnbaum's blog, My Madeleine, and know that she lost her sense of smell after being hit by a car. Luckily, very luckily, she has regained much of it, and with it, her ability to taste. For someone who had intended to be a chef, it was such a cruel twist of fate.
Smell and taste are practically one in the same. Once the sense of smell is lost, taste usually goes with it. And with the loss of memories that are tied up with smell , often comes depression. In the book, Birnbaum brings us on her journey of exploring the science and history of the sense of smell. For her, not only was it a learning experience, but it was personal. Because of her situation, she was able to speak with many people who help provide insight into the field of olfaction. I highly recommend this book. It's written with a lot of heart, vivid description, and information that you don't often see.
As those of us in the United States savor the taste and smells of Thanksgiving today, just having the ability to do so is one more thing that I'm thankful for.
*Updated 11/25/2011* - Recently I found another food blog by someone who recovered from anosmia and got her sense of smell and taste back. Her name is Susan and her blog is called Consider Food.
I hope you all had a Happy Thanksgiving!
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