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I lost my sense of smell after Covid. Here’s what I’ve learned about life without it

When the virus shut down my nostrils, I presumed it was a temporary issue. But three years later my food still tastes like cardboard

To celebrate our anniversary, my partner and I dine in a trendy London restaurant in Hackney with a Michelin star – my first time in such a place. A crispy little bonbon is introduced to us simply as “Pine, kvass lees and vin brûlé.” I watch my partner light up, the flickering candle in her eyes, as the waiter sets the thing down. The impact of the aroma has already registered on her face. With her first bite she is transported to her childhood in Massachusetts. “Gosh,” she gasps, closing her eyes as a New England virgin pine forest explodes in her mind. When she blinks open, returning to the here and now, she looks at me guiltily. I take a bite and wince. No coniferous wonderland for me. Just unpleasant bitterness, confined very much to the tongue.

I am pleased for her, truly. I’m a magnanimous guy. But from that moment on, the whole evening is a bit of a spectator sport and, by the end of it, I have a feeling that she is even playing her enjoyment down, muting her reactions, as if to say, “You’re not missing out.” She finds some dishes prove more successful than others – the sweetness of cherry, an umami-rich mushroom – but I am missing out: on the nuances, the emotions, the memories. The smell.

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Read the original article at The Guardian

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