Food Sensing

For years and years I thought Russ’ worse sense was that of smell. He always was bringing me the bottle of milk, “Is this still good?” There was no rhyme nor reason to his asking me. Sometimes I could smell the sour milk coming from two rooms away and sometimes it was perfectly good, but he could not distinguish the difference.

“Is this still good to eat?” He would ask me holding a container of something homemade and thus had no expiration date, I could never say, “Smell it.” If that was the standard he would often be eating something that could potentially become a new antibiotic.

As his eye sight diminished Russ had to depend on me even more to more to suss out a spot of mold that had grown on something. This I understood, and as his eyes and nose, I was happy to vet his food choices from our refrigerator. I did want to keep him alive, even if he could not identify sour milk. Try as I might, he never developed the sense of touch to tell if the spring mix us too soft, or slimy and thus time to be thrown away.

So with smell, sight and touch out and hearing food has never been a reliable thing as far as spoilage is concerned, Russ needed me. Then he had his eyesight restored. I thought I might be out of the food detective business.

Apparently not. Tonight Russ held up two bags, both holding arugula and asked me if they were good. I said they both were edible and he should eat the bag from the farmers market, but to wash it first. He put some in a bowl and poured dressing on it without washing it.

“I told you to wash it first.”

“I didn’t hear that.”

I guess that when it comes to food, Russ only has one sense, taste. Since he likes things really spicy or tangy, even that is not a good indicator for edibleness.



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