Anyone have ideas for recipes that someone with no sense of smell might find appealing?

This isn’t strictly a “sous vide” related food question, though I’d appreciate sous vide recipes if you might have them!

So here’s the scoop. Two years ago a good friend of mine suffered a nasal infection that killed off his olfactory nerves. (He’s been to the best specialist around and his ability to smell has been confirmed dead with no hope of recovery.) Without smell the only things he can experience with food are salty, sweet, bitter, sour, and umami…and texture I suppose.

Several friends are getting together over at his place in a few days for fun and a pot luck and I thought it would be nice if I can find something to prepare and bring that he might enjoy…at least enjoy as much as he possibly can.


I have a friend with no sense of smell too. It’s really hard to understand how food actually tastes without aroma. For her I really try to concentrate on textures more than anything.

Mirozen, one of my family members had a similar affliction as the result of sinus cancer. We focused on preparing his favourite foods and he enjoyed them along with the pleasant memories they evoked. I suggest you do the same. Make it all about him.

His experience of this meal will have a special meaning far beyond your menu selection. He is fortunate to have such caring friends. Make it a great event!

Thanks Frank! And many of his favorites include some good hot and spicy dishes - I didn’t think to ask him if he still gets a burn from food heavy in capsaicin! I need to get hold of him tomorrow!

I’ve been thinking about doing something based around his remaining senses - maybe a sweet/sour/salty dish with a little umami thrown in! Fortunately I have a couple weeks to experiment and decide. :slight_smile:

My pleasure Mirozen, he should feel the heat so any well balanced spicy dish will be special. Herbs can be downplayed. Consider serving the specific items he particularly relishes. Citrus brightens and provides mouth-sparkle to hot and spicy items and don’t forget to use the zest too.

To taste-check anything you make just pinch your nose when you taste and don’t inhale. You’ll perceive what he senses and be able to make appropriate adjustments.