It's my own fault. I ought to have made sure my tastebuds were back in place before making the sandwich in the first place (that's about the limit of my culinary crafting, by the way – P's the chef around these parts). But I didn't, and it tasted like carpet. And now I'm worried that I've ruined the enjoyment of my favourite death-row meal forever. (That 'carpet' simile, by the way, seemed preferable to the usual 'cardboard' one. Likening taste to cardboard, as they do in the chemo leaflets, serves a good enough purpose but in truth it's lacking a bit, since food in those first few post-chemo days actually tastes of nothing. Not cardboard. Just nothing. So carpet seemed as good a bet as any. The sandwich might have tasted like wax or feet or concrete or fabric softener for all I know.)
Still, there was Fajita Tuesday to look forward to: P's invention to celebrate my return to taste with a spice-fest of a dinner. Even though I'd fallen short of getting any flavour from my lunch, I was sure that this would hit the spot – after all, it's proved a sizzling success two chemos running, and I was becoming impatient to get my favourite sense back. (The not-being-able-to-taste stuff hasn't hampered my appetite, sadly – and with experiments like this I fear it'll be the ruined tastebuds that get to my waistline before the steroids.) But again, nothing doing. There was something there, I'll give you that, and I definitely appreciated the consistency of the peppers, but it still didn't, well, taste. (Did I really just write that I 'appreciated the consistency of the peppers'? Sheesh. AA Gill, your job is safe.) After that disappointment I called in the big guns (actually, first I sulked a bit, then I called in the big guns) and took myself to bed with a tub of Banoffee Pie Haagen Dazs to give my palate one last chance. (Twisted logic, I know – like the chilli couldn't do it so the dairy would?) Now normally I can hoover up a tub of ice cream faster than you can say Rik Waller, but last night I only managed to scrape off the top layer of my Banoffee Pie tub (that's about half an inch in my book) before realising that it was fruitless (probably in more ways than one) and throwing in the towel. After the let-down of the cheese and crisps sarnie, not being able to taste Haagen Dazs is my final straw.
By the looks of it, all these tasteless troubles are getting to P every bit as much as they are me. He's not just the head chef in our household, but a bloody brilliant one to boot. P takes his cooking VERY seriously and, like every successful chef, he's a competitive little bugger too. And if I know him (and the frightening, defeat-will-simply-not-do look on his face right now), he's not going to be beaten to the palate punch by my chemo drugs. So as I type this daft post about what I've eaten over the last 24 hours (why I think you'll be interested in this stuff is beyond me), P is going in for the kill in our kitchen. He's got a super-spicy, master-blaster, choc-full-of-chilli soup on the stove and there's a powerful whiff of garlic making its way into the bedroom. This is it, people – it's tastebud boom or bust.
I fear it says a lot about my current predicament of bed-ridden boredom that I can type for so long about what I've been eating. (It says an equal amount about your work-avoidance tactics that you're still reading, but if you're prepared to let this one go I'll say nothing to the boss.) And anyway – cheese and crisps sandwiches, Sports Mixtures, fajitas, spicy soup... it's all good to make a turd, right? And, after days of chewing on constipation-causing pills, I dare say that's almost higher on my menu than a decent dinner.