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Are You a Supertaster? Taste is Temperamental

It looked like a tasty dinner. Daughter took a bite of potato, chewed it, thought for a second, and then complained of a strange feeling under her tongue and in the back of her throat.

I went into diagnosis mode, trying to identify the problem. “Was it a red potato, Honey?” I asked. “Because the yellow ones taste fine to me.”

“Yes,” she said, “but it’s the yellow ones too.”

It’s Hard to Recognize What You Haven’t Experienced

I tasted, and then tasted again — and finally agreed that all the potatoes had an unpleasant, chemical aftertaste. It took Spouse and Son much more time and many more potatoes, but eventually they noticed the off-taste too. After a lot of speculation, we hit upon the source. It turns out Spouse had used a new spice rub in the prep. I ran for the jar; we all sniffed it and confirmed the diagnosis.

Here’s the thing: Son, Spouse, and I each came up with mitigating explanations for the funny taste that we couldn’t taste — until we could. We had each assumed we were okay, but that Daughter was somehow oversensitive, and that her concerns could be explained away — logically.

Can You Hear the Canary?

As a matter of fact, she is more sensitive; since she was little I’ve wondered if she’s clinically a supertaster. But being more sensitive doesn’t mean being wrong — and just because her perception was different from ours didn’t mean the rest of us were right. It took hindsight — after we had the funny-taste experience too — for us to see that she was actually ahead of the curve.

So when someone’s view differs from yours, try to suspend disbelief. Maybe they’re serving as the proverbial canary in the coal mine. Consider the possibility that they’re perfectly and completely right, and you’re actually less acute, slower, and less aware. And if that were the case, how would you interact with them?

Onward and upward,


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