Thursday, March 31, 2011


Reading this article about supertasters made me realize that I haven't ever blogged about what I call "my crazy tongue."

As a kid, when I would stick my tongue out at someone (not all the time, I wasn't a devil child, I swear) they would always remark on my super-textured tongue. When I got my wisdom teeth out the oral surgeon remarked on it, calling it a "topographic tongue." Cool--like a topographic map.

I started to notice that spicy food was pretty challenging for me, increasingly so over time. Certain chiles would make my tongue THROB. The taste is divine, but the sensation is murderous. The article on supertasters addresses this strange discrepancy, pointing out that spice is not a taste but a sensation--not sure I could have articulated that difference before reading the article.

I met a physician with a similarly affected tongue. She described it to me as the cracks and crevices of our tongues causing each taste bud to be more exposed to the food (more surface area) and therefore more sensitive. She confirmed that it gets more extreme with age. I forgot to ask her if she also sometimes tries to wrap her tongue in a flour tortilla as tears stream down her face. Didn't seem like Passover table conversation.

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