“Do you ever have a day,” I asked Matt casually during dinner, “when everything you eat or drink leaves a horrible, bitter taste in your mouth? That doesn’t go away?”
He stared at me in disbelief.
I started to dismiss my own claim as silly until I took a small bite of plain bread and a sip of wine and grimaced. “Like, really, really, disgustingly bitter?” He shook his head no. I began to panic.
Assuming I was probably dying, I Googled “everything tastes bitter” just to find out what my exact cause of death would be. Because it might be nice to know so that I could warn Matt about it. You know, “Well, first there’s the bitter taste, honey, and then my nose will turn inside out, and only then will my heart fly out my right ear – so now you know, and Dr. Google says there should be time to get out of the way before that heart thing happens – just watch the nose.”
Imagine my surprise when one of the top hits was this blog post by a Scottish botanist who experienced the very same thing – and his research into the problem implicated those most innocent-looking of legumes: pine nuts. Yes, that’s right. Pine nuts. Further, he linked to this paragraph of a Wikipedia entry that mentions the “risks” involved in ingesting pine nuts, which “can cause serious taste disturbances” (but do not pose a serious health hazard, thank goodness). Now, I don’t believe everything I read, and I know that neither a blog post nor a Wikipedia entry are considered solid primary sources. However. If you read that blog post, note how many comments there are as of today: 256, people. 256. Since last October. And that’s before I’ve taken the time to leave my own response. Having read through the first two pages of comments, I see that many people have experienced all the same symptoms as mine, so I have no doubt whatsoever that this is the problem.
This would be a good time to mention that I had quite a few pine nuts on Saturday night. I made capellini with sun-dried tomatoes, olives, feta cheese, and pine nuts. I had forgotten the little nuts existed until this weekend; I don’t think I’d had any in 2 years. I just might’ve dipped my hand into the container once or twice while I was cooking (because OH YUM!) and also sprinkled them liberally on my pasta dish. I’ve been known to snack on almonds while cooking and I suppose I just substituted the pine nuts because they were there. Turns out that backfired.
So, according to what I’ve read tonight, my symptoms of this bizarre reaction are typical, having emerged 1-3 days after eating the pine nuts. I have a constant bitter, metallic taste in my mouth. At first I thought a cavity had cracked, until I remembered that I have no more silver fillings. All food or drink tastes absolutely disgusting, except water. It has gotten increasingly worse through the day, as others reported. I tried one commenter’s suggestion and drank tonic water with lime before eating tonight and it did seem to help as I ate it, but the taste came right back afterwards. At least I got to enjoy the food for a few minutes, though.
The best part? This will last 7-20 days. You heard me.
But at least I’m not dying.