Sense of taste

sense of taste

One of the “minor” side effects of both radiation and chemotherapy is the loss of one’s sense of taste.



Well, not so much “loss.” More of a horrible transformation.



I had one of my favorite Japanese dishes recently: ahiru donburi, strips of grilled duck and bits of scallion scattered in a bowl of rice. Delicious! But a bit – hem – metallic.



Then wheat bread began to taste like cigarette ashes.



I tried a McDonald’s hamburger and fries recently. The fries were perfectly inedible, like pieces of uncooked leather. The burger tasted as if it had been marinated in Clorox.



Meat’s not good anymore, nor is bread.



What’s left? Chocolate pudding. Frozen yogurt. Lemonade. Soup. Rice Chex. Cheerios. Grape Nuts. Marshmallow Peeps! Mashed potatoes.



I told this to Apollonia, who was philosophical. “Take a lesson from Robocop,” she said. “Robocop ate a rudimentary paste.”



“A what?”



“A rudimentary paste,” she said carefully. “And now that’s what you’re going to have to eat too.”



“I wish I were Robocop right now,” I said. “I know what I’d do.”



“Calm yourself,” Apollonia said severely. “That’s the chemotherapy talking.”



So: anyone for some nice rudimentary paste?


About Loren Williams
Gay, partnered, living in Providence, working at a local university. Loves: books, movies, TV. Comments and recriminations can be sent to

6 Responses to Sense of taste

  1. While enduring this, you might be interested in reading a book called Season to Taste, about a young aspiring chef who lost her sense of smell (and thus taste) in an accident. ( My friend Tom, Judy’s husband, went through months of chemo and had that experience of food tasting just metallic and bad. He did get his taste back afterwards but what a miserable thing…

    • I’m discovering (slowly) things that don’t taste too bad. Believe it or not, Campbell’s condensed soups aren’t too bad. Also, chocolate seems to cover up the nastiness in many cases.

      • I seem to recall in the book, the author found spicy things could cut through the lack of taste. There were certain things that tasted good to Tom, as well. Sometime, those things changes and then something else tasted ok!

      • It does seem to change from day to day. Spicy foods are okay, but they burn my throat a bit.

  2. Herbs? And if chocolate works, do it! You could wear a Willy Wonka costume and really do it up. But, mostly, bummer.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: