The Three Senses

Last night I ate dinner with a man who was born without the senses of taste and smell. Food, for him, is purely utilitarian, a texture on the tongue. He says he does not like mustard, but it is the only food he prefers not to eat. To my knowledge his other three sense do not qualify him to be a superhero, but I could be wrong.

I ate a burger topped with garlic mayonnaise, lettuce, cinnamoned pear slices, feta, and honey barbeque sauce. It was delicious. Even the texture was nice. I tried some cinnamon-dusted sweet potato fries, but it tasted like candy with a vegetable inside.

It’s easy to list one’s favorite smells (your cologne, honeysuckle, cut grass, etc) but favorite tastes are harder to discern for me because taste is an interdependent sense. It varies with mood. I think of Helena Handbasket, who salts everything so much that her plate looks like a scale model of the Swiss Alps.

I love the tastes of coffee and cigarettes, alone or together. This began in the womb. A lifelong addiction. The brain wants what it wants. The body plays along. Tonight I’m wanting you: all my senses tell me this. All of them have something to gain.

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