Friday, September 10, 2010

The Wonders of "Pine Mouth"

What, you may be asking, is Pine Mouth? Unless you've experienced it, you've probably never heard of it. Neither had I. Until a few weeks ago.

It was a normal Wednesday. Except for the fact that everything I ate or drank (except water) left a bitter taste in my mouth. Metallic, but not the iron-metallic taste of blood. Bitter but not quite sour. Very strange indeed. It was unpleasant, but since it wasn't SO TERRIBLY AWFUL, I tried to ignore it for the first day. When it continued on Thursday I decided I would try to figure out what was going on. So I started googling. Obvi. I thought it would be a little bit of a stretch to google "bitter taste in mouth after eating," considering there are probably a dozen possible explanations. But I had NO OTHER SYMPTOMS, so that's where I started. And very quickly I found several articles that were talking about how some pine nuts give some people a bitter taste in their mouth when eating. I really thought it must be some urban legend kind of deal. Oh but no. True story. As it turned out, I had eaten pine nuts on a salad on Monday of that week, and several of the articles/blogs said that the bitter taste phenomenon starts a few days after ingesting the pine nuts. And lasts for UP TO TWO WEEKS. Good grief.

When I lived in the states I ate pine nuts all the time. But here in Romania they're not ordinarily available in stores, and when they are they're wicked expensive. So I haven't had pine nuts in ages. But I happened to have a small stash of them from a package that was sent to me or one of my trips back to the states. Which I used to make my famous Big Salad for my team. I of course texted them all to ask if any of them were experiencing the same bitter taste. Not so much. Just me. The One Who Gets Random Maladies and Illnesses. Seriously.

It lasted about 6 days, which was way better than the 2 weeks I was anticipating based on some of the articles I read. For the first 3 days I chewed minty gum after eating anything in order to get rid of the unpleasant taste, but the last 3 day it was more subtle. From what I read, it's not well studied or documented, just random people here and there with some (chinese? british? who knows!) pine nuts. Unfortunately I don't know where my pine nuts were from, as I had stored them in a glass jar rather than their original packaging. I think that I'll probably still eat pine nuts in the future, because it wasn't bad enough to deter me from these tasty little nuts. And if it really truly is just SOME pine nuts, maybe I'll have another stretch of lucky years where I only eat "the good ones." However, I gave the leftovers from THIS batch to one of my teammates. No need to push the envelope toooo much.

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