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Here’s a fact about me. I have no sense of smell at all. As a result, I can only taste those tastes which can be detected by the taste-buds on my tongue – sweet, salty, bitter, and sour.

Strawberry – sour, occasionally slightly sweet
Banana – usually slightly sweet
Apple – sweet or sour, depending on the variety
Chocolate – bitter and sweet
Chips, pretzels, etc – salty
Cheese – salty
Rice, potatoes, pasta, milk – nothing
Unseasoned meats – nothing
All vegetables – nothing

You get the idea.

I’m upset today, because I’m tired of having the responsibility of doing a job – cooking – in which I can never feel confident that I will have an adequate outcome. I had to make lunch today for a crew of guys who work on our house construction. I went for safe and easy – I made boxed macaroni and cheese. Did you even know that it’s possible to screw up boxed macaroni and cheese?

I don’t know if perhaps the milk was off, or the margarine, or even the packets of cheese powder, but everyone agreed the meal was strange and nasty, and almost all of the food I prepared went to the dogs (who, by the way, were delighted with it).

For a moment I’d like you to pretend that you’re me.

  • First of all, you have the responsibility for making sure that your family and occasionally those outside of your family are fed. You’d like the eating to be a pleasant experience.
  • Second – you can only work with foods you’ve never tasted before. This will be hard for most of you to even imagine, since you are used to tasting foods. Perhaps you can pretend that you’re cooking in some foreign country where they use ingredients you’re completely unfamiliar with.
  • Third – you can’t taste anything at all before, during or after the preparation of the food, including the “adjust seasonings” part of the venture. To most fully experience what it means to be Trish, you should really find a way to avoid smelling any of the foods you work with, as well.
  • Fourth – you can use a recipe! But, assume that two or more of the ingredients are unavailable where you live, so you have to make substitutions with items which aren’t quite the same and are likely inferior to those listed in the recipe (canned peas or spinach in place of frozen, for instance).
  • Fifth – as a wild card, assume that at any moment one or more of the foods you have to work with may be tainted or just taste bad. Good news for you – you can see if the food is moldy. Other than that, you’ll probably not know that you’ve served your family nasty rotten food until they mention it. They will mention it. 

Now, do this faithfully, several times each day, over the course of years. Work hard to improve your skills. Try to think of ways to fail-safe against the potential pitfalls. Deal with the fact that everyone else you know is trying to incorporate healthier foods into their family’s diets, while you’re increasing the processed foods, as a way to avoid inedible results. Try not to notice as your family picks at their food, or how excited and happy they are when someone else does the cooking. Keep going even when they politely say: “Oh it’s fine, Mom” when you cook . . . but say: “WOW this is really great!!!” when someone else cooks.

Teach your daughter to cook. Find that your family enjoys eating again. Cook less and less yourself, thereby forgetting some of the lessons you’ve learned along the way. Have daughter grow up and move out.

Get frustrated and unhappy all over again.

Sigh. This is me being sad. I’ll get over it and be all salamanders and puppies and basement-happiness tomorrow. Today I’m wallowing. Don’t show up for dinner – you’ve been warned!