Saturday, May 1, 2010

Pine Nut Terror!

They look innocent enough. Sitting in a bin, you can get as many or as few as you like. Just turn the little handle and you can do anything. Make pesto. Dress salads. Top pizza. Heck, you cane even make cookies. (No really, you can. And they are fantastic too! Don't believe me? Check it out for yourself here at Real Simple.) The sky is the limit. They're versatile, delicious and generally good for you. How could you go wrong with something that wholesome and cute

That is until you get hit with something I like to call Pine Nut Fail. And man, it is a BIG fail. You think things are going great. You have a delicious pasta salad, full of grilled broccoli and mojo porkchops. You eat it Wednesday... Nothing happens. So you eat it again on Friday... Nothing happens. And then you wake up Saturday morning to a breakfast of Coke and jellybeans and things are NOT right. Coke should not taste like dish soap... and only in Harry Potter will you find mercury flavored jelly beans.

You think I would know better at this point; this is the third time I've managed to 'catch' this funky mouth disease. The internet is rife with people complaining of what is now affectionately called 'pine mouth,' but there has only been one scientific study done on the phenomenon. They refer to this situation as a 'taste disturbance.' They being 'The Poisons Centre, Brussels, Belgium.' Fancy, I know. Anyway, they managed to figure out absolutely nothing about what it is exactly that causes this funky taste (did I mention it can last to up to a fortnight... that's right, you have to know what a fortnight is to understand how much this blows.) Wikipedia is, as always, much better equipped to answer my questions.

A small minority of pine nuts can cause taste disturbances, developing 1–3 days after consumption and lasting for days or weeks. A bitter, metallic taste is described. Though very unpleasant, there are no lasting effects. This phenomenon was first described in a scientific paper in 2001. This is a relatively new phenomenon and appears to be most common in nuts coming from China. It has been theorized that the nut trees are absorbing something and passing it on to the nuts, or the nuts themselves are being treated with something before packaging. It is also possible that the nuts have spoiled and are rancid, however the foul flavor is metallic and not rancid. Also, it has been hypothesized that this bitter side effect is caused by an allergy that some people may have to pine nuts, but this does not explain the recent appearance of this syndrome. Metallic taste disturbance known as metallogeusia, are reported 1–3 days after ingestion, being worse on day 2 and lasting for up to 2 weeks. Cases were self-limited and resolve without treatment- Wikipedia

Awesome, right? Fail. Mostly I'm just grumpy over a waste of good jelly beans. Consider yourself forewarned!

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