My husband lost his taste to Covid-19 in late October 2020 when our family got coronavirus. Luke got all his taste back right after he felt better. Joe’s taste came back too, although he discovered that coffee was no longer enjoyable for a while. My sense of taste also mostly returned, although I lost my interest in cilantro, peppers, and soda because they tasted either weird or gross. I am still avoiding cilantro and peppers, but I can drink Coke again so that is both a blessing and a curse. But Steve, well, he figures he has about 25% of his pre-Covid smell and taste back. That is it. Still. He hasn’t had much improvement over the past year. This is incredibly frustrating for a guy who really enjoys eating and who asks me at breakfast what is for dinner. As it stands now, Steve can get the subtleties of salt, fat, acid, heat, and sweet in most food, but he cannot taste the flavor of an apple, for example. He enjoys the crunch of an apple and its sweetness, but he can’t taste a Honeycrisp or tell it from a Gala or a pear. So frustrating.
Steve has discovered that full-bodied red wines actually have some flavor for him. So tonight he was researching flavor profiles in wines. This made him think about the movie Somm, which is about people studying to become Master Sommeliers. These people spend their lives smelling everything and tasting wines to describe their flavors. Some articles have suggested that people like Steve need to retrain the brain post Covid. This led Steve to a deeper curiosity about the science behind how people are able to taste, how the brain works in concert with the nose and the tongue to assess flavors. To learn more, he actually Googled this phrase: “How do people taste?” This search did not yield the exact results he was hoping for.
Now, I have to admit that it would not have occurred to me either that there is actual information readily available about what a human being tastes like when consumed, but there is. And, just like that, my husband’s search history will now reveal that he searched the Internet for a flavor profile of a human being. I find this a bit concerning. Can you imagine him trying to explain his way out of it if I suddenly went missing? Furthermore, would he grill me or pan fry me? Would he grab the buffalo, barbecue, or sriracha sauce? I’m not actually afraid he will kill and eat me, but I am wondering what other searches are on his laptop. And, beyond that, I am now curious about how people taste. Who tasted people, typed up the flavor profile results from their experiment in cannibalism, and uploaded them to the Internet? Are we like alligators? Do we taste like chicken too. So, so many questions here.
An article in Smithsonian Magazine published in February of 2014 states, “According to the testimony of people who have actually eaten other people, the taste of human meat does not reflect its beef-like appearance. Both serial killers and Polynesian cannibals have described human as being most akin to pork. But not all cannibals agree with this description.” So, there you have it. We do not taste like chicken as I suspected. We may taste like pork, but not all cannibals agree on this. There’s a sentence I never thought I would type, twice. Still, good to know, I guess, in case you’re ever in a plane crash in the Andes and your buddy tells you it’s okay to go ahead and eat him. At least you will know that buffalo, barbecue, or sriracha are all acceptable condiments to pair with Brian. You might just discover he was a lot tastier than he looked.
As for Steve, I’m not too worried about him. He could try to eat me, but he probably wouldn’t go to the trouble since he wouldn’t be able to taste me anyway. And I’m gonna be in trouble with the Feds now too because my search history also shows an inquiry into the taste of human flesh. If anyone’s looking for a plot for their true crime novel, how about a cannibalistic serial killer eats his victims and then, to escape suspicion, tips off investigators to a couple of dummies who searched Google for “how do people taste” and then wrote a blog post about it?
If I go to jail for cannibalism, it’s Steve’s fault. Stupid Covid.