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Brussels Sprouts Kill Grandmother


Brussels Sprouts Can Kill?

What the heck? Well, I often think in headlines. Another quirky perspective of mine, I suppose.

Imaginative headlines pop into my mind at odd times. For instance, waiting for an elevator, I might fantasize how the chance meeting with the stranger waiting next to me could change my life— “Writer lands book deal between floors.” Or when cooking, I might muse about some magical result of my spicing snafu: “Strange spice combination unlocks fountain of youth.”


Some headlines are not so fanciful. “Woman taken by surprise by large black man in park.” (I promise you another blog post about this one.)


Good headlines are provocative, right? They get you to pay attention, and you become curious to know more. Sometimes, headlines are accurate, and sometimes, they purposefully mislead.


Back to the Brussels sprouts headline. I think it got your attention? Maybe you formed a mental image of grandma eating sprouts. Why did they kill her? You need to know, even if you never eat Brussels sprouts.


This headline is part of a much bigger story. You see, I had a mild case of Covid in early December. The symptoms lasted for about five days. As they were subsiding, I did lose my ability to taste, and my sense of smell. A few people I told said they would find that very upsetting. I found it extremely interesting. I didn’t worry about it. I was somehow confident they would return eventually. I was over the bug and feeling better, so I embraced the experience and learned a few things.


I discovered that eating, for me, isn’t as much about taste as it is feeling satiated. Sadly, loss of taste didn’t curb my appetite. I seem to have some taste memory, because most often, I forgot I wasn’t tasting what I was eating. In fact, after eating an entire bag of my favorite chocolates, I thought, They must have changed the recipe because these just didn’t taste as good as they used to. I quickly realized why! I did discover that wine was one exception. It was a taste I couldn’t recreate. I need to actually taste it to enjoy it. So, it wasn’t a bad thing to save on the wine budget for awhile.


As weeks progressed, sweet and sour tastes came back first, spicy and subtler flavors later. I can’t be sure if my taste buds are 100% yet; it doesn’t seem very important.


More challenging than no taste was having no sense of smell. I've always had a sensitive sniffer and it was strange not to smell soap in the shower, or the scented candles I love. These were the easiest smell testers. I tested often.


The inability to smell soon became more of a concern with regards to my personal hygiene and the kitchen garbage!


I began to realize if my sense of smell didn’t return, other things could be even more challenging, and perhaps, dangerous. Cooking for instance. Aromas are wonderful part of cooking, and cooking smells can alert us when sautéing, baking, boiling, broiling, and burning if we aren’t paying attention! That alone got me thinking about being unable to smell smoke if there was a fire, even though there are alarms for that.


Then, there are food leftovers. I can easily forget how long they have been in the fridge. One day, I opened a container of homemade corned beef hash. It smelled fine, and I was about to warm it up for lunch when I remembered, Wait, you can’t smell, how do you know if it’s okay to eat this? I was going to my daughter’s house anyway, so I took it with me. “Can you smell this and tell me if it’s good?” She lifted the lid and lurched back in disgust. “Oh, God no!” We laughed! With that, I realized I had to go home and clean out the refrigerator.


Here is where the Brussels sprouts come in. (Finally, right?)


In the process of clearing out leftovers, there was also a small amount of uncooked Brussels sprouts still in their pesky ripped cellophane bag. (Wade used to say that the bags I opened looked as if a wild animal had been at them. I admit I get easily frustrated when trying to open things.) When I grabbed the bag of sprouts, the little green buggers dropped from a hole in the bag and bounced all over the floor. As I went to collect them, I stepped on one of the hard little balls, lost my footing and began to slide. I was headed for a very bad fall. Grabbing on to the counter saved me. That’s when the headline, for what might have happened, came to me: Brussels Sprouts Kill Grandmother.


When I regained my stability, I had to laugh, wondering if under the circumstances it would have been counted as a Covid-related death.


Note: My naturopathic doctor friend, Dr. Stephanie Soalt, told me that taking Zinc would help me regain my ability to taste and smell. It did!