10 Handy Tips About Food
Here are 10 handy tips about food for you to consider:
All these tips have come from a group discussion amongst Fifth Sense members during one of the workshops at our last Fifth Sense conference.
1. When preparing a meal, concentrate on foods with strong, defined textures and colours, which gives more satisfaction via other senses for those with olfactory disorders whilst also catering for the needs of others. Think crunchy food, interesting textures and tastes such as: salty or chilli chocolate, caramel popcorn and colourful salads.
2. When you are next in a restaurant, tell the staff about olfactory disorders and offer ideas up about how the chef could cater for this condition. Some people have tried this and have had great success with it. It provides an opportunity to educate normosmics and gives the chef a bit of a challenge. Most chefs will rise to the challenge!
3. Think about embracing ‘alternative’ dining experiences such as the restaurant “Dans le Noir”. At this restaurant, you dine in the dark, which enables customers to focus on different aspects of the dining experience than they usually do. Other such examples are a medieval banquet, a cabaret show with your meal, or even a restaurant with a loud and buzzing atmosphere. These restaurants will help you to focus on more than just the food and drink, they will encourage you to appreciate the ambiance and the company that you are with.
4. When cooking for others: stick to tried and trusted recipes. Following a recipe will help to take the pressure off and the whole experience will be less stressful for you.
5. If you are finding it tiresome to socialise during a dining experience, suggest non-dining experiences to your friends and family. As opposed to going out for a meal together, suggest going to the cinema or theatre. Even a walk in the countryside can be a good alternative for those struggling with eating out as the main social experience.
6. Ask others for smell descriptions. This allows your friends and family to speak about a meal without feeling guilty that you are unable to enjoy it in the same way, whilst including you through the use of their words and your imagination. You can think of this as the smelling version of a guide dog!
7. Focus on the positive aspects of the dining experience rather than on the loss of enjoyment of food and drink. Delight in the company, appreciate the textures of the food and drink or enjoy the decor of the restaurant.
8. Some people have said that they prefer dining out at a restaurant as opposed to being a guest in someone’s home because there isn’t the same social expectation relating to their enjoyment of the food. At a restaurant, you aren’t forced to express how much you enjoyed the food and therefore, you don’t fear that you will offend someone when you don’t mention it.
9. Don’t forget about nutrition. If a smell or taste impairment has lessened your enjoyment of food, this is even more important. Rather than shovelling in food as fuel, take some time to practice self-care and ensure you eat nutritious food.
10. If you have relatively recently started suffering from a smell or taste impairment, take comfort that these social situations get easier over time. Initially, there can be feelings of grief, loss or anger because your emotions are still raw and it is difficult to see how you can implement certain strategies to improve your appreciation of food. However, many people that have had the condition for longer have said that it becomes easier with time.