Enjoy food without your sense of smell
Two years after the first lockdown, loss of smell and taste is still one of the most talked about symptoms of COVID, and one that can hang around long after recovery.
We believe flavour is one of the great loves of life. It might sound hard to believe, but you can still enjoy mealtimes even when you’ve lost your sense of smell and taste.
All five of our senses are used when we eat
If you’re missing smell or taste, focus on the other senses to compensate.
Make your meal easy on the eye. Choose foods in different colours so your plate really pops. Think about the table setting, the lighting, the plate you use.
Crunch, chew, fizz. All these sounds are a very important part of the full dining experience. Research shows that the sound of bubbles make drinks seem more fizzy, and the sound of the sea makes seafood taste more intense.
An important part of our eating experience is the trigeminal nerve, stimulated by things like the tingle of chilli flakes. There are five ways to get this ‘feel’ experience: texture, temperature, spice, and astringency (tongue tingles from foods like sumac or fizzy drinks).
Experimenting with food
As you recover your senses, you might find that familiar foods taste different, even bad. Don’t panic, your senses will be all over the place as they recover and could change from week to week.
Keep experimenting and don’t rule anything out completely, your palate will re-adjust over time.
We hope these tips help you fall back in love with food as you recover. We’d love to hear about your progress – share with us on social using @goustocooking
Cook up some sense-sational meals
These Gousto recipes are packed with rich flavour and interesting textures, with suggestions for swapping problem ingredients that might trigger parosmia.
Ditch the smoked paprika and roasted garlic and try sundried tomatoes instead. Then swap the baked egg for a dollop of natural yoghurt, and top with fresh parsley instead of chopped chives.
Use poached salmon rather than chicken, and ditch the pesto in favour of grated parmesan cheese and toasted pine nuts. Drizzle over lemon juice and olive oil instead of the balsamic vinaigrette.
Combine the fig relish with lemon juice instead of balsamic vinegar, and mix your rocket with fresh parsley or basil rather than spring onion.
Instead of roasting the salmon, try poaching it and adding the sweet chilli sauce afterwards, then fry the pak choi with toasted sesame oil instead of garlic and top with extra sesame or sunflower seeds.
Toss your cherry tomatoes and pineapple with fresh parsley rather than spring onion and coriander. Ditch the smoked paprika and chopped garlic and add sundried tomatoes to your black beans instead.
Instead of making your sauce with leek and garlic, go for a simple roux or a cheese sauce. This dish is packed full of interest with zingy lemon and a hazelnut and parsley gremolata, so you won’t miss it too much.
If the cucumber and shallot in this edamame salad are no-goes, try sweet pomegranate seeds, toasted almonds or even raisins soaked in orange juice.
Don’t fancy a caramelised shallot? Roast some tomatoes with a sprinkle of sugar instead. And rather than using smoked paprika and garlic in your chimichurri, try mustard or sundried tomato paste.
With sticky umami from soy roast sweet potato, crunchy cashews and a generous drizzling of zingy chilli-lime dressing to finish, this recipe will not miss the garlic if you need to take it out.
Swap the spring onion for a sprinkling of your favourite fresh herb over this colour-bomb of a dish, finished with a sweet miso dressing and scattering of chilli.
Have you lost your sense of smell or taste?
Head to our Flavour Saviour microsite for tips and recipes that will help bring back the joy of mealtimes.