Thursday, July 16, 2009

Pine Mouth and the Quinoa Salad that Wasn't


It dawned on me yesterday that everything had been tasting bitter, since, uh, since Sunday! (Why it took me three days to notice the pattern is still a mystery.) Poblanos, wine, salad, everything. After this realization, I came to the hysterical logical conclusion that I must have a stress-induced neurological disorder. A quick search on the internet did not reveal this high on the list of potential diagnoses, but pregnancy, GERD, and a hernia were. Not liking any of those answers, my research continued and I noticed that food blog posts about pine nuts kept popping up. What does that have to do with my symptom?

Everything, it seems. After eating a dish including pine nuts, I apparently developed pine mouth. Some people develop a reaction after eating pine nuts resulting in a bitter, metallic taste that can last a couple of weeks! I've eaten plenty of pine nuts in my day, and this is my first experience with metal mouth. It's been proposed that certain pine nuts may be rancid, and those imported from China seem particularly risky. The weird thing is that not everyone reacts with the bitter taste after consuming them. I checked my recently purchased batch from a local grocery store chain, and sure enough, they are from China. From now on, it's back to the Italian brand I used to buy that never caused me this problem.

As you can imagine, the perception that I've been chewing on pencil lead every time I consume something is not so helpful for creating recipes. I created this quinoa salad before I realized my tasters were out of whack.



Tastes bitter to me. MD says it's bland. Oh well. I will leave the cooking up to the rest of you for now! Have a great weekend, and let's be careful out there (about pine nuts).

24 comments:

  1. I get the same "bitter mouth" issue from eating unpitted cherries (even after spitting the pits out). It's a shame, because I love cherries so much. Fortunately I can eat pine nuts galore with no problems!

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  2. what a bizarre reaction! hope you're over it soon--it doesn't sound too pleasant, but maybe I should seek out rancid pine nuts when I'm trying to lose weight so I would imagine it makes eating far less pleasurable :)

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  3. Wow, I have never heard of "pine mouth" before. That really stinks though, I hope it goes away soon. Even though you don't know how it tastes, you salad is still pretty!

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  4. Hum..only italian pine nuts for me too then..why risk it. Wow, I'm going to be the hit of any weekend dinner party I attend with this hot little tidbit =) Hope your mouth gets back to normal asap!!

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  5. Weird! Hope your taste buds are back to normal.

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  6. I'd never heard of that - who knew pine nuts could have a dark side? Hope your taste is back to normal soon, and I'll keep that in mind when I buy pine nuts - get well soon!

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  7. pine mouth!! blimey, never heard that one before. I think it's good that you are educating people about this terrible affliction! :) Seriously though, I'll check the label next time I buy seemingly innocent pine nuts and make sure they are not pine mouth givers incognito!!

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  8. Never heard about pine mouth before. That's really weird. I hope you feel better son, so that you can enjoy your beautiful meals again.

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  9. that is CRAZY, Lisa! i've never heard of such a thing! wow! i think you should give the quinoa salad another go - i'd love the recipe - it looks so pretty!

    happy friday, and may you have the most super stellar weekend! :)

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  10. To have everything taste bitter- that sounds awful :(

    I hope your taste buds come back to their usual self soon. Is there no antidote for this?

    I had read about this pine nut phenomenon on several blogs, so I was very worried when I used them for pesto last weekend. So far so good!

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  11. Oh no, that is horrible! I've never heard of pine mouth but that doesn't sound good at all. I hope the bitter taste leaves soon, that has to be really frustrating.

    I'm going to be very careful about pine nuts now, I don't eat them very often at all, but if I do, I will make sure they aren't from China. Seriously weird the things the human body does....

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  12. Dude, I think I had this same problem several weeks ago!!! For about three or four days awhile back, I noticed everything had a bitter aftertaste. It was annoying, but not enough for me to worry. And then it magically went away. I know I made some raw pine nut pesto around that time and by golly, I bet that's the culprit.

    I'd never even heard of this!!! Thanks for solving the mystery.

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  13. How bizarre! That must have been disconcerting, to say the least, until you discovered the cause. I, too, will check that I buy only Italian pine nuts from now on!

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  14. Wow, that is a new one to me. Good to know, though! Hope you recover your "good taste" soon. :)

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  15. Holy cow! Maybe that's what happened to me a few weeks back. It was so bizzare, but the pine nuts would totally explain it!

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  16. So weird! I hope you feel better soon. This just makes me feel better about never buying food from China!

    Sometimes when I eat pine nuts (which I've been doing a lot of lately)I notice that they themselves taste a bit metallic and 'cold' tasting, but the problem never persists once I eat anything else. Hmmm....

    Hope you get your taste buds back quickly!

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  17. I woke up with pine mouth this morning, from some pesto I made a couple nights ago. Sure enough, Chinese pine nuts. Maybe same shipment... Never had a problem with this in the past. Lets hope it doesn't last more than a few days.

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  18. Glad no one I grew up with has ever heard of this. My maiden name was Pine. Can you imagine how much teasing I would have gotten if pine mouth was popular problem? Weird!

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  19. Wow, I had no that idea pine nuts could cause that -- scary! I don't eat them much, but I'll be careful from now on. Can you taste ok now?

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  20. yikes! never heard about that before. hope your mouf is back to being its happy self all over again.

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  21. i totally have pine mouth! it sucks i'm on day 2. they we're pine nuts from trader joe's. i eat them all the time and this is the first time i've had this reaction. it's for reals folks!!

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  22. I have pine mouth, which is why I found your blog. Pine mouth is really horrible, and they say it can last from days to WEEKS! I really hope it goes away soon. I have eaten pine nuts many times in my life, but the pine nuts i ate on Monday were the only ones to give me pine mouth.

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  23. Hi to all the unfortunate.

    I also have this rank taste in the back of my mouth every time I eat. I had a few handfulls of Morrisons own brand pine nuts, although it says these are packaged in the UK the after ringing thier customer services they won’t disclose where it get’s the pine nuts from.
    I think it would be an for us all to put down what stores we bought our pine nuts from so that less and less of us have to go through this again.

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  24. I have been eating pine nuts my whole life, never had a problem. This Christmas I had a different brand, and next morning ALL FOODS I ate tasted bitter/metallic! Soda, coffee, wine, fish- everything! The sip of water was the only remedy. I wonder if pine nuts have something to do with bitter taste buds- as you know, they are on a back of our tongue. There is no research about that, and the liver reaction seems more logical, but who knows...

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