Metallica is performing live and center stage in mouth right now. And I’m not talking the stadium rocking from their glory days. No, my tongue tastes like the puke-covered floor under a mosh pit teeming with 200 sweaty dudes crammed into a third-tier club that hasn’t washed their floors since Slash last washed his hair. (Did I just conflate Metallica with Guns-n-Roses? My bad – I may have lived the ’80’s but it was in my Herself the Elf pajamas watching Rainbow Brite and eating Count Chocula.) All food that I’ve eaten over the past few days – including the delish Labor Day spread at Gym Buddy Megan’s house – has an aftertaste like I mopped the floor of the metal shop with my tongue.
At first I blamed it on eating too many cucumber skins. (True story: My garden this year has refused to grow anything except what I call Bastard Zucchinis. These are the inbred love children of cucumbers and zucchinis. They look all squash on the outside but are all juicy seedy cuke on the inside. It’s a rotten switcheroo – have you ever heard of cucumber bread? There’s a reason for that – but the worst part is that they taste like lemons. Horrible vegetables, those. So the only edible item to come out of the garden plot besides the habaneros my husband inexplicably planted are cucumbers. Dozens and dozens of them. ) Then, when the metallic after burn only worsened after a few days I moved on to bigger and better diagnoses. Clearly I must have throat cancer. Or liver disease. Or at the very least a hormone imbalance.
I did what every ailing person does these days – I went to the almighty Google and typed in “Why does my mouth taste like I licked the Gulf Coast?” And the answer became immediately clear: My health food tried to kill me.
This wouldn’t be the first time. A few years ago I confessed my love of raw, soaked beans on here and discovered from many concerned readers that raw beans are way bad for you and kidney beans can kill you if you eat them raw. Whoops! Then I found out that cilantro tastes like soap to people with a certain gene (officially known as the potty-mouth gene), asparagus gives half the population odoriferous pee and beets will make you think you’ve pooped out your intestines in a bloody heap the next day. And now, the latest offender in the health food hall of shame are: Pine Nuts.
That’s right, according to about 5 million web pages, in the past year or so many people have been struck with “pine mouth” – a bitter metallic taste that can last up to four weeks – from eating pine nuts, especially those from China. While the good news is that this does not seem to be the result of poison, toxins or allergies, the bad news is that nobody seems to know why this happens. Not only that but there isn’t any cure for it except to wait it out. It also seems that this is a recent phenomenon, with the first case being reported in 2009. The Center For Disease Control is even tracking the “outbreak” – which you know makes me feel all special and validated in my hypochondria. (CDC: call me!)
I hate waiting things out. We have established that I am not a patient person. My husband had an Oreo cheescake ice cream cake for his birthday and you know what it tasted like? Oreo cheescake ice cream cake… drizzled with liquid mercury. (“How do you know what liquid mercury tastes like Charlotte?” “I’d tell you but those lost IQ points ain’t coming back, sweetheart.”) My beloved wasabi almonds now taste like nuts rolled in lead dust. And drinking water is the worst. My cold, clean, filtered water that I rely on to make happy not-beet-colored pee tastes like the Hudson river. After a rain storm. After a biker’s convention.
The only thing that helps is gum. Which I chew like a cud and use to blow incessant bubbles that sometimes get stuck in my unwaxed lip hair (note to self: make that waxing appointment STAT). I am, and I say this with remorse, an obnoxious gum chewer. But all of you in real life are just going to have to deal with it because according to all of you on Facebook and Twitter who tried to console me (or taunt me, hard to tell with Tweeps sometimes) I have a good 11 days of this yuckiness left.
Beware the pine nut, my friends. (And yes, apparently you can still get pine mouth even if you make it into nummy pesto. Sob.)
Any of you ever got Pine Mouth? Any helpful suggestions?? Have you ever been attacked by your health food? What was your favorite childhood trend from the ’80’s??