Orange You Glad TikTok Exists?!

I’m an OG foodie.

Long before it was fashionable to take glamour shots of your dinner, I had an old-fashioned binder labeled “Places I Will Eat At Some Day” with ripped-out articles from the New York Times and Bon Appetit and Gourmet (RIP) magazine. I keep notes on my phone of menu items I’ve tried and loved and that I think I can duplicate. 

I grew up eating homecooked meals from a mom who always tried out new recipes. I was home on maternity leave when the Food Network debuted here and quickly became addicted.

I love food.

And yes, I appreciate that life would be easier (no need for CrossFit!) if I were one of those people who feel that food is merely sustenance and not a thrilling, high-calorie ride, but that’s no way to live. A gal can’t survive on escarole and boiled chicken and vegan cheese alone. Well, she can but that’s no life as far as I’m concerned.  

So you can imagine how I spiraled when I realized I’d lost my sense of taste and smell three days post positive COVID test and three-quarters of the way through an iced coconut-lime yerba mate. I smacked my lips a little and took another sip. What was previously coconut-y and icy was now just … cold. Wait — what was that sound?! I could hear the dog fart, but I couldn’t smell it. And while I would normally rejoice at such a thing, I’d much rather smell all of life, even the rancid toots, than none of it.

No, no, no! This is supposed to be the kinder, gentler variant that leaves your senses intact! 

Son of a …

COVID White Clawed my taste and smell. If you’ve ever had a White Claw, you know what I mean. The first time you have one, you grab the can and look at it and you’re all, “Oooooh peach!” But then you take a sip and it’s not at all PEACH!!!!!!! but, meh, peach*. Ultimately disappointing.

I was relaying the sad news to my similarly food-obsessed oldest child (the menu doesn’t fall from the table) and she asked me if I’d eaten a burnt orange yet.


“A burnt orange. It’s all over TikTok. You burn an orange and eat it, and people say it restores your taste.”

I went a-Googling. Sure enough, it was a thing. A thing debunked by more than one doctor, but still, desperate times call for, well, quasi-desperate measures like sampling Mother Nature’s own Ivermectin.  

So I did it: Tossed an orange on the grill and charred the hell out of it.

I burned my fingers a little when I peeled it because I couldn’t wait and then mixed it with brown sugar, as directed, and ate about half of that squooshy mush. It actually seemed like it may have helped. I suspect it has something to do with cooking the essential oils in the peel because science does suggest that scent therapy (huffing strong stuff like cinnamon, orange and vanilla but NOT dog farts) can help restore lost taste and smell.  

These days ye ol’ senses seem to be flickering like a faulty light. Sometimes they’re mostly on, sometimes not quite. Smell seems to be 100 percent, as I rudely discovered when I pulled on a mask at 2:30 a.m. to traipse through the house and let a dog outside — morning retainer mask breath is foul. Sadly, taste isn’t all the way back. I bought some Mentos (the FRESHMAKER!) for a daily test of how the taste buds are progressing. So far, they just detect the barest whiff of mint.

Well, I guess I can always just chomp Mentos before pulling on a mask. Oooooh — and that could be a great new media campaign for them: the freshMASKER! 

*That was a lot funnier in Word, when I could make peach be in 2-point font.

2 thoughts on “Orange You Glad TikTok Exists?!

  1. You are beautiful eloquent and damn hilarious. I find myself SOL (saying out loud-I just made that up) “I do that too! I did that too! I totally get that!” **stalker alert** If I weren’t such a socially paralyzed X- gen, I’d want you to be my best friend (along with Jennifer Lawrence). Keep writing and making me laugh! -Meredith P.S. you interviewed my kid who was on chopped jr. A while back 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You made my day, Meredith! Thank you! I remember you fondly and how your talented son WAS ROBBED on “Chopped.” Even though we only talked over the phone, I knew you were a kindred spirit! 🙂


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