|This is my life.|
For starters, the question I'm most often asked is "how does it affect your sense of taste?" Well, that's a good question, and one that's not exactly easy to answer considering that I don't know what the alternative is like. The best way I can explain it is that when you're born with the ability to smell, your senses of smell and taste develop concurrently. This means that much of what you're tasting is actually smell, which is why for many people, holding their nose or getting sick and being stuffed up reduces their ability to taste things. Because I never had the ability to smell, however, my sense of taste developed independently of any smelling ability. This means that while I'm not able to taste as many subtleties in flavor as others, I can still definitely taste things, and I would argue that my sense of taste is fairly well-developed, but there are some exceptions. For example, things with very subtle flavors tend to all taste the same. I wasn't aware until I was a teenager that jelly beans, Starburst candies, Jolly Ranchers, etc. all have different flavors, because they're all generic fruit flavors to me. It also means that I can't taste the difference between many of the subtler herbs and spices, which is why I prefer to use fresh herbs and spices in my cooking, and also why I prefer stronger flavors in my food. I also focus much more on the texture of foods than I imagine most people do, as texture can make bland foods much more desirable and can also make otherwise delicious foods unappetizing.
Some things, however, I am able to taste subtle differences in, the most prominent example being hot sauces. I currently have at least 5 or so different kinds of hot sauces in my kitchen, as well as cayenne pepper, chili powder, cajun seasoning, creole seasoning, and am constantly on the lookout for new and different types of hot sauces to add to my collection. For some this is a hobby, but for me it expands the range of flavors and experiences I'm able to get out of my food, so I tend to take my hot sauces quite seriously (hint: unique and exotic hot sauces are a great gift idea for me, the hotter the better). It's also why it's impossible for me to pick a favorite- each one is different and has different applications for different foods, though I would say my most frequently used go-to sauce would be Cholula hot sauce, followed by Louisiana and Sriracha. I also have a number of different mustards in my collection, as mustard is another strongly-flavored food that enhances my culinary experiences. I suppose it also explains why I hate mayonnaise, as it doesn't really have a flavor to me and thus is basically like spreading wet globs of melted fat on my food. I literally gagged while typing that. Basically, my mouth is like a canvas, and hot sauce is the paint, and food is the brush, and my nose is like the masking fluid used to preserve light areas of canvas. Hm, that analogy got weird quickly. Forget all that.
|Welcome to flavor country.|
Perhaps a less pleasant side effect of this condition is not being able to recognize offensive or detrimental odors in my everyday life. The most recent example of this was when a coworker grimly informed me that it appeared my cat had urinated on the clothes I was wearing at the time. Not being able to tell when you smell like cat piss is a pretty big deal, especially when you work in public defense and you have a hard enough time getting clients to take you seriously as it is. Fortunately I have a wonderful girlfriend who gently lets me know whenever I smell like Satan's asshole for whatever reason, for which I am very grateful. I've also drank more spoiled milk in my life than most people, since I don't usually realize it's spoiled until after it hits my mouth and by then it's too late. Gross.
|You mean you DIDN'T want to smell like my piss? Too fucking bad.|
|Uhhh even I know you're not supposed to do that, lady.|
|Actually, THIS is my life. It's pretty sweet, really.|