A few weeks ago, I had an odd thing happen to me. It was a regular Thursday night. Because Friday is my day off from my marathon training, Thursday night equals wine with dinner, so I was imbibing. I poured myself a glass of my fave aforementioned house wine (aka Yellowtail Chardonnay) to go along with my grilled chicken breast with roasted asparagus (the hubby cooked dinner; it was awesome), took a sip and was puzzled. The wine tasted metallic, kinda tinny. I took another drink (not the brightest moment for me). Same taste. Husband took a sip, he said it tasted fine. Weird.
Then I tried the chicken. Tasted delicious. Then the asparagus. Somewhat metallic. Back to the chardonnay. Definitely like sucking on a penny. WTF?!
Upset at my ruined meal—by fault of my possibly faulty tastebuds—I went to bed slightly hungry that night. Hoping that the next day it would disappear on its own, and I wouldn’t have to Google “metallic taste” and learn that I was dying of some bizarre condition, probably the culmination of drinking too much cheap wine over the years or ingesting too many GU Chomps during my training runs, resulting in severe electrolyte abundance. (When something weird happens to my health, my logic goes to shit.)
Sad to say, the sucking-on-a-penny taste was back when I ate breakfast that next day, and it was the nastiest when eating my usually delicious Greek yogurt. Drat. “I’m dying,” I thought.
I went to Google to confirm. Yep, like I thought, I was an arthritic, depressed, alcoholic with a bad case of gingivitis and lead poisoning, and on the verge of heart failure. What would I tell my family? And Erin?
And then I thought, “Wait a minute. I don’t have a metallic taste in my mouth ALL THE TIME. Just when I eat. And all of these symptoms are for a metallic taste all the time.”
Back to Google I went, asking the world wide web what a “metallic taste when eating” meant. And lo and behold I had my answer. In fact, I found pages and pages of people with the same unappetizing problem. What was to blame? Rancid pine nuts. Small, innocent, somewhat cute and really tasty (pesto!) pine nuts had done me wrong. Little bastards.
Aptly referred to as “pine mouth,” the rare phenomenon only lasts a few days or weeks, but, let me tell you, it sucks. Mine lasted a full seven days. A whole week where dairy disgusted me (yogurt was the worst). I had to declare a “break” from wine (not a break-up, a break), and the only foods that appealed to me were salty “hit you over the head with flavor and fat” foods. Not great for the ole fit bottom.
And the oddest thing is that the metallic taste doesn’t develop until a few days after you eat the bad pine nuts. In my case, earlier in the week, I had made a quinoa dish sprinkled with them after Erin raved about the high-protein grain. It was a full three days before the “pine mouth” set in. Sick.
The pine nuts I had used in the dish were bought just a few days prior to the quinoa-pine nut cooking, and they were well ahead of their “best before” date. According to all of the online research I’ve done, it seems that pine nuts aren’t the most stable of the nuts (ha) and new shipping practices from overseas may play a role.
I’m sure you can guess that my bag of (not cheap!) pine nuts immediately went in the trash. And I don’t think I’ll be cooking or eating them any time soon. (Pesto, I love you, but I think I’ll sub walnuts for your usual pine nuts going forward.)
One thing is certain though: I’m happy to be alive and glad I’m not an arthritic, depressed, alcoholic with a bad case of gingivitis and lead poisoning on the verge of heart failure! —Jenn