Who Knew?

    "Ugh...this apple tastes really weird" I said to B.  "Taste it", I demanded, knowing that he wouldn't.  "HA. No way.", he laughed.  Hmm, I thought, is the knife that I used to cut this apple, the one that I used to cut the onion a few minutes ago...let me wash the knife again.  I also washed the apple again.  This time I cut a piece on the opposite side of the apple. No luck.  Still tasted weird.  It was as if there was something metallic on the skin.  I left the last 3/4 of the apple sitting on the counter. 
Next attempt: a grilled cheese.  I warmed the thick fresh wheat bread in a pan on top of the stove, melted the Manchego and Gouda cheeses on top, and closed up the slices to make my crispy, melty, warm sandwich...  I LOVE grilled cheese.  I took a bite..and chewed it a bit...  "Whats wrong....?", B asked slowly, stopping his typing to ask me.  "Why...?", I asked, as I swallowed.  "Your face is all wrinkled up, like it tastes horrible", he finished.   "It does.  Can you please taste this", I pleaded, knowing his answer would still be "no".  B shook his head.  He has is own issues with not eating anything that he doesn't know exactly what it is.   I took one more bite of the sandwich.  It tasted bitter and just plain vile....
Ok, one last test. Granola. My favorite snack.  I poured some dry cinnamon sugar granola in a bowl and tossed a small handful in my mouth.  What was usually a sweet, crunchy, delicious granola, was once again bitter and foul.  At that point, a little confused, and very disheartened, I realized that there was something wrong with me, not the food.
   I quietly walked over to my computer and typed "metallic taste when eating" into the beloved Google search.  I had to do it quietly because B (being a doctor) hates when I try to understand/solve medical/ health issues on the Internet.  After about 10 minutes of scanning and reading articles....I found what I didn't know that I was looking for.  Pine Mouth!??  That stupid handful of pine nuts that I put on my salad, at the party on Saturday night!!  It turns out that it is not widely known but it is confirmed by the FDA, that there are some imported pine nuts, two species, which have not traditionally been part of the food supply.  One is the Chinese White Pine and the other is the Chinese Red Pine.  The theory is that Pine Mouth is caused by an inedible species of pine nuts that have made it onto the market.  The problem is, there's no way for people to tell. All pine nuts look exactly the same. Pine Mouth also doesn't kick in right away, which is why I didn't notice it until a day and a half later.  It also turns out that there have been many articles written about this, there is a blog dedicated to it, and even a Facebook group to join.  Great, I'll join the club and we can all  sit at our computers and talk about how bad everything tastes.... 
  Whether you decide to join the Facebook group or not, the bottom line is that eating those pine nuts can really temporarily destroy your ability to taste for any amount of time from a few days to a few weeks.  The FDA has even asked that anyone report any experience of this, so that they can continue to better understand the reasons for, and causes of, this phenomenon. So all I can say is watch out, if you love pine nuts buy only the Italian imports, which have not been documented to cause Pine Mouth.        


  1. Pine mouth? Holy crow - who knew? Your blog is so much fun & inspirational to read, & now it's educational too! B needs to step up to the 'taste this' requests!


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