Beans, Beans, the Magical Fruit

The sort of secret blog of Beans, a.k.a. Jules, a.k.a. "Legs for Miles" a.k.a. "Rackie the Boob Queen." Fine, ok, not the last two. Starting July 2006, sometimes "Mike," aka "fagadoccio," is a co-poster on the blog. The co-poster child, really.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Definitely Deaf, Certainly Dumb, but TASTELESS?

I was, as per usual, shirking my responsibilities ("Julia, get the fish guts off Papa's dock!") by drifting through some internet rabbit holes, and one of them let to this article about taste sensitivity.

Long story short, about 25% of people are "supertasters," a phrase coined by Yale scientist Dr. Linda Bartoshuk, while 50% make up regular tasters and 25% make up "nontasters" which must be an exaggerated term for subtasters. "Fungiform papillae," which sound like they belong halfway between a mushroom and a vagina, are actually the tiny taste receptors on your tongue, and supertasters have more of them, and they're smaller. Makes sense.

Well, here's the thing. How I have not been put in a mental institution is beyond me, and why I do not listen to everyone by holding a huge horn up to my ear like a Gold Rush grandfather is a matter of pure pride, because there's no doubt that I am both crazy and totally deaf.

But add this to the heap: I think I'm hard of tasting. Or else just stupid.

Today in the car, my mom said "Pheeew! Smells like trash." I hadn't noticed. Then I turned around and noticed the back seat was full of trash. (Nevermind why.)

This happens all the time. She's all "Holy smokes, the Jasmine is overpowering!" and I have no idea what she's referring to. Then she points to a Jasmine bush on the other side of a fjord. She's always sniffing here or there like a fox hound, and she will find the PINCH of cinnamon in a 10-ton vat of dough. There is no doubt that it is a gift, a distinct gift.

Another distinct gift: The Boob Chair!

I think my sister Anne inherited this ability. She is always tasting things more strongly than I. Hors d'oevres that included a potato cake with truffle oil were passed at a party once, and before they left the kitchen, she was nauseated by the truffle waft in the air. "I'm gonna be sick, I can't handle all this truffle," she said. Meanwhile, I, sitting indian-style on a cylinder of pan-seared tuna, perked up: "Oh, sweet! There's food at this party?"

I know that palates develop and can be deliberately trained. I guess there's an upside to being tongue-retarded. When you're frenching a dirty old sailor, it doesn't taste so much like pipe smoke and herring poop.


And Leite points out in his article that supertasters often don't eat enough greens because the bitterness tastes so strong to them. Meanwhile, anyone who knows me well knows that I almost exclusively eat bitter greens. I have always loved them; now I know that it's because they don't aggravate the block of driftwood which is my tongue.

They may be made of dimestore felt, while I am made of many layers of Neutrogena, but inside our faces, I am ANATOMICALLY IDENTICLE to a muppet.

This explains why we always order the same when we eat out!


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