Jun. 3rd, 2011

I am pleased to say that as of today [livejournal.com profile] cat9 and I seem to be past our encounter with "pine mouth", brought on by delicious but secretly taste-disturbing stuffed dates we made last Saturday.

It's really a bizarre effect, to just have a bitter overtone to everything for (in our case) a week after eating something which did not, itself, give any signs of being bad. Since it took us a day to figure out what was going on (solved by Cat cleverly asking Google "why does everything taste bitter?"), we had condemned at least one restaurant's dishes as being wholly unappetizing. Oddly, once you've noted such displeasure it can be hard to make yourself remember, later, that it probably wasn't the food at all that was bad. Perhaps the association is stronger because of the links between memory and taste and smell.

Being now much more wary of pine nut sources, I can report that a large number of US distributers use Chinese pine nuts, a subset of which are considered the most likely vector for pine mouth, seemingly indiscriminately. Given that, I'm surprised I haven't heard of other cases before this. It may be that only a very small percentage are contaminated (or whatever - the actual cause is still elusive), or that some individuals are more sensitive than others. None of our guests experienced the same symptoms, but it's suspicious that the two hosts would happen to be more susceptible. I believe we simply had more of them, crossing some important threshold. Still, it's strange to do nothing if you eat two stuffed dates, but give you a week of bad taste if your eat three or four.

In any case, I think I shall have more hesitation eating pesto in the near future...


Jun. 3rd, 2011 11:19 pm
In more pleasant culinary news, I've started a Blogger account for medieval (and occasionally ancient) cookery. I've only put a couple of things up so far, but I have a backlog of redactions kicking around from the past few years, and hopefully I'll be more timely in posting new ones near when I actually cook them.



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