I, Popeye

Posted on: March 18, 2013


Depression affects your sense of taste, so much so that they are developing tests based on this, to determine first try what kind of anti-depressant would work for a given patient. For now, as I understand it, they basically go: “Try this. Happy now? No, and you’ve grown fur all over? OK, so then, take this: works? No, and you’re not happy with your new tail? Ok, what about this then? SUCCESS! You’ve finally turned into a hyena!”.

With me, suddenly sweet started to taste like false friends, savoury like McDonald’s, i.e. like sawdust, sour like myself, bitter like life, and umami like I-have-no-idea-what-it-is-supposed-to-taste-like.

You have never heard of umami? And yet, like sweet, sour, bitter and savoury, it is one of the five basic tastes. How to recognize umami? Wikipedia comes to help and explains that “It induces a sensation of furriness on the tongue”. Kiwis do that to me, but I thought that was a food intolerance.

So, did you know that little fact about depression? Well, I didn’t. I only found out after weeks of thinking that it wasn’t me. “This sauce tastes off. It must be spoiled”. “Oh, this bakery is not as good as my usual one”. “There’s no way this is Illy coffee”. “What, they changed the recipe of Ovomaltine? Again!”

And then I chanced upon an article that described the phenomenon. Having little appetite, up until then I had tried to coax myself into eating all my favourite foods, with no success; so I changed my strategy and decided that since nothing tasted really good I might as well eat healthy, and started going practically only for vegetables. It all tasted bland anyway, except for chocolate and….

spinach?!? I always kind of liked spinach, actually. Well, not as much as, say, carbonara, but I was perfectly fine with the leafy greens. But I wasn’t quite prepared for the explosion of taste! This actually tasted like something! Like swimming in a glittering sea under a full moon with a dolphin! Like riding in the glittering prairie under the full moon with a dolphin! Like climbing the highest peak in the glittering snow under the full moon with a dolphin!

By the way, did you know that dolphins can become depressed too, and even suicidal? Which would explain that insane willingness to ride in glittering prairies and climb glittering highest peaks.

Anyway, from now on I will only eat spinach-based stuff . Spinach with cheese, spinach with eggs, spinach with salmon, spinach with chocolate, spinach with umami. And I will tattoo anchors on my forearms and smoke a pipe and this will grant me the superhuman strength I need to clean my flat.

That’s a plan.


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