Sunday, October 20, 2019

Plastic is my problem.

It  certainly makes sense: when one's saliva isn't normal, and one's mouth is dry, that one's sense of taste will be altered. Mine included.

So I've noticed this in a whole variety of foods, but usually the changes that I've noticed are a decrease in the intensity of flavors. Occasionally when I'm unusually tired, my sense of the taste of bitterness is exaggerated.

How weird is that?

My newest taste strangeness involves food in plastic bags. Especially baked goods. I went through a phase during which I bought multiple loaves of bread, all of which were packaged in the standard plastic bag. It was an expensive phase since every single one ended up in the trash. I'd sample a slice but all of them tasted bad to me. A hard to describe bad. Mostly, they tasted somewhere between moldy and rotted.

Not enjoyable. It got so bad that I would gag whenever I opened the bag.

I couldn't imagine that the bags were the problem. I'd been eating food from plastic bags for all of my life. Then one day, I purchased bread from a bakery which was packaged in a plain brown paper bag. I tentatively took a bite and was instantly in a state of BLISS.

Yes. My problem HAS been with poly bags. Bakery bread has been my BFF ever since. When I discovered grocery store bread packaged with an inner wrapping of cellophane, my suspicions were confirmed. It tasted great; exactly how I remembered bread tasting before my taste buds went wacko.

I found cellophane food grade bags online for those times when I feel the need and have the energy to bake my own bread. Yum. Here's my latest loaf, recipe from Bob's Red Mill:

Honey Whole Wheat Bread 


By Hand

1 cup Warm Water 110°F
2 1/4 tsp Active Dry Yeast (one 7g packet)
1 cup Milk room temperature
1/4 cup Honey
2 Tbsp Oil
2 3/4 cups Unbleached White All-Purpose Flour
2 3/4 cups Whole Wheat Flour or Organic Whole Wheat Flour
1 Tbsp Salt


By Hand

1. Pour water into a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle yeast over top. Let sit until yeast dissolves, about 5 minutes. Stir in milk, honey and oil. Add flours and stir by hand or with a dough hook until a dough forms, about 1 minute on low.

2. Add the salt and knead dough until it is smooth and springy, about 10 minutes on medium speed.
Form dough into a ball and place in a large bowl lightly coated with oil. Turn dough to coat with oil. Cover and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

3. Transfer dough to floured surface. Divide dough in half and form into two balls. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Grease two 9 x 5-inch loaf pans. Gently press and shape each ball into a 9 x 9-inch square. Fold into thirds, like folding a letter. Pinch the seam closed and place loaf seam-side down in prepared pan. Cover and let rise for 40-60 minutes.

4. Make three angled slashes on top of each loaf with a knife and place in oven. Immediately reduce heat to 375°F and bake until loaves are golden-brown and sound hollow when tapped, about 30 minutes. Remove from pans and let cool completely on wire rack.

So, y'all don't think that I actually followed this recipe to the letter, did you?

You did? Silly people. Here's the changes that I made to the recipe:

I kneaded a bunch of sunflower seeds (maybe 1/2 cup) into the dough and just couldn't bring myself to use one whole tablespoon of salt. So I used 1 and 1/2 tsp. And instead of making two smaller loaves, stuck the whole batch of dough into my biggest bread pan. As far as waiting until this gorgeous fragrant loaf was cool enough to take a knife to it?  Pfffft.

This is indescribably good; especially since I've been on a burst and taper dose of prednisone which causes "put my face into a chocolate cake" carb cravings. Luckily, a slice of this bread quashes my cravings just fine.

Anyone else have an aversion to poly bags? Or other changes to the sense of taste? Share in the comments section below.

You can read more about diminished taste in Sjogren's syndrome here.


Anonymous said...

I've noticed that my sense of taste has diminished over the past year. I have to add extra seasoning to everything. My husband does a lot of the cooking and I drive him crazy when I tell him the food doesn't have much flavor (and then I add whatever is needed to my food!)


annie said...

That loaf of bread looks amazing, too bad I can't eat gluten anymore. I showed my son the recipe, and he's going to try baking it for himself at some point.

I do notice there are certain things that I eat or drink, that have changed in flavor, but I thought it was just me. Even water has a strange taste in my mouth, but I am mindful of not using anything too acidic that will just burn my mouth, as do salt and sugar. So strange!

Anonymous said...

I also found that both taste and sense of smell were effected. For years I couldn't stop and smell the roses regardless of how close I got to them. I have a little of that sense back but find my nose now 'hallucinates' occasionally and I can smell nasty smells that nobody else can.
When my sense of taste went I found I couldn't stand how cola or pretty much any carbonated drink tastes. Not altogether bad I guess - I sure get through my water allocation. :)
Sadly at around this time I also became gluten intolerant. So many nice breads and things, no longer eatable... :(