The Curse of the Pine Nuts!

Communist infiltration of my taste buds.

For about the last year (as part of a half hearted health kick) I’ve been buying my lunch most days down at the local branch of Edens Salad Bar. This is one of those places where you make your own salad or roll by selecting foodstuffs from a buffet like arrangement and as a consequence of doing all the work yourself pay far more than you would for a pre-prepared meal. But hey, the ingredients are fresh, you get exactly what you want and they seem to have a policy of only employing extremely cute and friendly girls to operate the counter, so I’m not complaining 🙂

Eating at Edens has introduced me to an extremely delicious and previously completely unknown culinary treat – the Pine Nut. They have these in a large shaker and for the past year I’ve been liberally dosing every roll or salad I make with them. Which has been fine – they’re meant to be quite good for you – and has presented absolutely no problem of any kind at all. Until this week.

The pine nut shaker was getting a bit low, so they topped it up. However instead of the large, yellowish pine nuts they’ve been using, they’ve switched to smaller, browner ones. This may have to do with the economic crisis, pine nuts are after all pretty expensive. This didn’t bother me at first but as of early this week I’ve been struck down by the Curse of the Pine Nuts! Oh the horror!

I quote from the source (and destination) of all human knowledge, Wikipedia…

“The eating of pine nuts can cause serious taste disturbances, developing 1-3 days after consumption and lasting for days or weeks. A bitter, metallic taste is described. In general, a minority of pine nuts on the market present this problem. Though very unpleasant, there doesn’t seem to be a real health concern.

This phenomenon was first described in a scientific paper in 2001. Since the article, experiences of the phenomenon have been reported by hundreds of people worldwide (US, Canada, South Africa, Finland, Iceland, Germany, and many more).

The pine nuts involved typically contain triglycerides formed by 16-18° unsaturated fatty acids. No contamination with pesticide residues or heavy metals was found.

Some of the pine nuts involved were imported from China. However, in many countries packaged pine nuts are not required to state the country of origin or the species, and thus it is impossible to conclusively link the effect to a particular species or source country.”

My taste buds have been assaulted by the horrors of (presumably) Chinese pine nuts! I am cursed with a bitter, metallic taste that affects everything I eat! Oh woe is me!

I’m swearing off Pine Nuts until they switch back to the big, yellowish ones. Hopefully the effect wears off before the weekend when I’m heading out to dinner (twice!) for my birthday.

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