Can’t Smell or Taste Anything? Could be that Cold or Sinusitis

Sasha attempts to help herself to some soup

Sasha, our never-shy-around-food dachshund/beagle, was happy to lap up some soup

Well, I guess it’s my turn to be a little under the weather. I thought my allergies were kicking into high gear again. I do, after all, live on what used to be swampland in southeastern Pennsylvania. What I thought were allergies turned into what I thought was a cold. Sneezing, watery eyes, you know. A day later, what I thought was a cold turned into sinusitis. Blecchhh.

And the next day? Sinus headache in full bloom, facial pressure (prompting that corny old joke, “Does your face hurt? It’s killing me!” from my humorous better half). There I was, destined to hang around the house, unable to cook (contagious) and generally sleepy and curled up in my favorite comfy chair. My husband (after the joke) was trying to help me figure out something to eat. Problem was, sinus trouble makes it hard to want to eat anything. You know how frustrating it is to be hungry but not know what you want to eat, knowing that it’s going to taste like cardboard and you can’t smell it. I really don’t know why was I making such a fuss over food I wasn’t going to like anyway.

That didn’t stop me, though. I dug out some takeout menus. Pizza? A tuna sandwich? Egg drop soup and pepper steak? When I thought I made a decision, I changed my mind. Annoying? Just a little. Despite the hemming and hawing, I chose mushroom pizza (which looked like plain cheese pizza with – wait for it – 5 poor little slices of mushroom) and it tasted like… I have no idea. At least the crust was crunchy!

I skipped breakfast yesterday and but was hungry enough for a tuna sandwich at lunch time. Indecision was on the dinner menu. Of course, I didn’t want anything we had at home (not sure why; I usually go right for the chicken soup) and settled on the egg drop soup and pepper steak. I dressed up the pepper steak with hot mustard, which I couldn’t taste. Yet, as nondescript as it was to me, our dog, Sasha, showed a lot of interest; clearly her nose was working just fine.

Pepper steak with brown rice didn't quite hit the spot

Pepper steak with brown rice didn’t quite hit the spot

In between the naps and bad TV, I did a little research about the reasons why you can’t smell or taste with a cold or sinusitis. Senses of smell and taste work in tandem, and when you have a cold or sinusitis, nasal passages are blocked, hampering air flow and thus, your ability to detect aromas. After the cold is gone and antibiotics have cleared up the sinusitis, smell and taste return. I’m pretty sure I knew this, but my foggy sinusitis head didn’t remember.

I’m crossing my fingers that I’ll be back to my regular self soon, with all my senses in full working order; I’ve gotta try out some recipes for Thanksgiving. And I’d really like to be able to taste them.

Stay healthy; it’s not even November yet.


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Leite's Culinaria

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