Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Let's Talk About...Umami

Chances are, you probably think you don't know what umami is, right?

Wrong.  You totally know what it is, you just didn't know it had a name.

But first, some background: I became anosmic in 2009 when I completely lost my sense of smell after a relatively minor head cold.
Not having the ability to smell means you have anosmia and are anosmic.

Not having the ability to smell sucks.
Not having the ability to smell after having the ability to smell more than sucks.  In fact, it sucks so much and so hard that I can't even think of a word for it. Sucksus Maximus?

To say that my life has changed because I can no longer smell anything would be a massive understatement*.  You do not have an idea how integral smelling is to the quality of life until you no longer have the ability to do so.
No longer being able to smell the world I live in is like being trapped in a bubble; it is like being able to still participate in the world but not being able to fully access all that it offers.

Think of watching someone cook something on television.
That's what my life is like as someone who can't smell.  My life is like I am watching my life on television. I'm cut off.
But that's just the tip of the non-smelling iceberg.

Imagine all of the things I can no longer experience.  The smell of my own house, clean hair, gas leaks, rain, flowers, my family, babies, puppies, laundry, clean sheets, Thanksgiving, Christmas, the joy of having a certain smell remind me of a memory, fire, spoiled food, freshly cut grass...the list goes on and on and on.

As a result I have to work hard every.single.day. at not falling into the black hole of despair and depression.
Every day.
Every single day.

The truth is that in order to not fall into that black hole I have to remind myself to not think about it too much and subsequently not write about it too much.  Humor helps. Well, that's not true; humor is my lifeline.  Humor, and being creative.

But let's get back to umami...

Since I can't smell anything, I can't taste flavors.  Yes, that's right...all I can taste, or discern, are the Big Five tastes: sweet, salty, bitter, sour...and umami.

Let me just add something here: I have put on a lot of weight since 2009 because I am always trying to find some sort of satisfaction from food that I no longer have access to because I cannot taste flavors.  Texture has become vitally important, as have french fries ;-)
Umami is what you taste when you eat mushrooms.  Or clams. Beef. Asparagus. Potatoes (which partially explains my french fry lust. The other part about some anosmics is that we seek out fried, salty foods for their texture and the experience of tasting salt.).

"According to the official Umami Information Center, “umami is a pleasant savory taste imparted by glutamate, a type of amino acid, and ribonucleotides, including inosinate and guanylate, which occur naturally in many foods including meat, fish, vegetables and dairy products.”  

Read about 13 foods with umami here:  13 Foods With Natural Umami

Coffee?  Yup, according to Starbucks...umami: "The Coffee Department Explores The Fifth Taste"

And here is How To Experience Umami from the Umami Information Center.

Finally, there's In Search Of Umami, The Mysterious, Fifth Fundamental Taste

Interesting stuff, right?  Now tonight when you sit down to dinner with your family you can tell them all about umami.

But don't forget to pause and take a good long whiff of your food first and appreciate the hell out of it.
You have no idea how much you'd miss smelling it if you no longer could.


*Every person who is anosmic has their own experience.  If you are anosmic your experience might be different than mine, for better or worse.  I respect that.  Thank you in advance of being respectful of mine.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

House Tour: Porch

I was outside with the dogs yesterday afternoon and the light was so right that I had to rush inside to grab one of my cameras and take some shots.

I can't tell you how much I love my front porch. We are out there all the time, sharing wine and conversation, and waving at the neighbors.



Write because you want to communicate with yourself.
Write because you want to communicate with someone else.
Write because life is weird and tragic and amazing.
Write because talking is difficult. Write because it polishes the heart.
Write because you can.
Write because you can’t. Write because there is a blackbird outside of my window right now and oh my god isn’t that the best start to the day?
Write because you’re trying to figure yourself out.
Write because you might not ever figure yourself out.
Write because there still aren’t enough love poems in the world. --Dalton Day

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