Weirdo in the Grocery Store


Just as a reminder, I have hyperosmia not related to any disease. Hyperosmia is an enhanced sense of smell. I’ve had it my entire life. Most people can’t understand what it’s like to have hyperosmia, but I will give examples. Once I am good friends with someone, I can tell when their “natural smell” changes. I don’t mean “they changed soap” I mean when their physical body smell is different, like after coitus or during menstruation if they are female. I was in my late teens before I realized not everyone could smell when someone else had sex and I embarrassed more than one friend with my nose by accident before I realized I could smell things other people couldn’t. It is also problematic for food. I am almost a vegetarian because the smell of cooking meat can be an appetite killer. I didn’t eat meat until after I took up smoking and the few times I have quit smoking over the years, I have also quit eating. And even as a smoker, I can still smell things I shouldn’t be able to smell. I actually hate having it, it’s weird. However, it relates to this blog post.

My best friend was complaining because she couldn’t get a particular type of grape she loves. I commented that I hated grapes and I do. They have a bitterness under the sweetness that I can taste and its nasty. I also don’t like things that are grape flavored, because this bitterness is apparently important to the flavor of a grape because it’s also in grape flavored things be it grape Jolly Ranchers or grape flavored medications. Fermenting grapes actually helps with that specific bitterness. And purple grapes have more of it than white grapes.

I told her she should get some oranges if she can’t find the grapes she likes, because most citrus tastes exactly like it smells. She replied that oranges were hit or miss with flavor. She isn’t wrong, I’ve had some oranges that were practically flavorless. I responded with “why don’t you smell the orange at the store before you buy it, because you can smell if it’s going to have flavor or not.” Oranges, lemons. limes, and peppers all smell like they taste. So if an orange has a lot of smell, it will have a lot of flavor in it. I can smell the difference between an overripe citrus and a flavorful citrus, although I’m not sure she would be able to.

But as a result if I’m buying oranges, limes, lemons, or peppers, I sniff them first. Actually, I’m the weirdo in the store sniffing all the fresh fruits and vegetables before I buy them. Bizarrely I have found mangoes, grapefruits, and tomatoes (all of which are citrus fruits) do not always smell like they taste. Grapefruits have a sweet and sour smell, that I actually love, but I have had grapefruits with a lot of smell and very little taste. Mangoes are just gross. There is something in mango that I hate. It is also in avocado. it’s a flowery taste that I can’t describe beyond that. Oh, yes I can, it’s nasty and I hate them. I suspect what I dislike in tomatoes is changes if exposed to heat, because if you fire roast a tomato and put it in something, I like them. On their own, not so much though.

J has noticed my tendency to sniff stuff in the produce department and I think it embarrasses him, because he rushes me through the produce department. I can understand if it does, since I’m the weirdo sniffing things there. However, the smell of a potato, onion, or even a head of lettuce is a good indicator of its taste. If a potato or onion smells dirty, it has more bad ‘meat” than good and I won’t buy it.

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