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There's nothing quite so cruel as not being able to smell -- or taste -- your morning coffee.
There's nothing quite so cruel as not being able to smell -- or taste -- your morning coffee.

What it's like to be tasteless

There is little, I’ve decided, more cruel than losing one’s ability to enjoy the flavors of food.

This past week, I had a more intimate look into the phenomenon of "taste-impairment" than I think I’ve ever experienced before, thanks to an epic five-day bout with the respiratory flu, which left my body tired, my sinuses plugged, and my mouth disturbingly devoid of its ability to parse the food I ate.

While I was sick, I blamed my lack of gustatory enjoyment on the fact that I simply wasn’t feeling well. But, as my recovery continued, I realized there was more going on.

My morning smoothie – made with plain kefir, frozen blueberries, ripe banana and greens -- tasted only vaguely sweet. There was no hint of the cinnamon or vanilla I added, despite the fact that I feel as if I added more than usual.  But, I could feel the tiny pearl-shaped blueberry seeds on my tongue and in between my teeth. And I noticed that the powdered greens mix – while not objectionable in its flavor – felt more powdery and gritty than usual.

My second awakening came as I stood in front of the coffee maker at work, waiting for the nutty roasted aroma of the brewing coffee to greet my nose and give me that "aaaah, I’m ready to face the day feeling." But, it never came.  

If I poked my nose directly into the coffee cup, I could conjure a vague whiff of coffee; but, I fear it was more wishful than it was real.

Nonetheless, I sipped the brown liquid in my cup relishing its slight bitterness and the feel of the warm liquid as it made its way down my throat.

And, while I normally look forward to leftover Chinese takeout when I bring it for lunch, the egg foo young I reheated was as bland as bland could be. Although there was something to be said for the experience of finding crunchy bits of fresh bean sprouts to grind between my teeth, there wasn’t a modicum of joy in the flavor of the dish itself.

"Isn’t the gravy for egg foo young supposed to be salty?" I asked my husband …

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On Saturday at the Home & Garden Show, Betty Holloway of NuGenesis Farm will present a session entitled "Food Synergy" focused on eating well for health and vib
On Saturday at the Home & Garden Show, Betty Holloway of NuGenesis Farm will present a session entitled "Food Synergy" focused on eating well for health and vib

Fresh Cooking at the Home & Garden Show: Betty Holloway's kale-abration salad

The Fresh Cooking Patio at this year’s Realtors Home & Garden Show promises to enliven your taste buds with a packed selection of cooking demonstrations from area chefs and food experts.  Read more and get the full Cooking Patio schedule.

On Saturday, March 28 at 6:30 p.m., Betty Holloway of NuGenesis Farm will present a session entitled "Food Synergy" focused on eating well for health and vibrancy.

Holloway MNS, RD, CD received her master’s degree in clinical nutrition from Cornell University.  She is a registered dietitian specializing in the area of preventive medicine and overall wellness at NuGenesis Farm, weight management with the ProHealth Care Inside Out Program and plant-based cooking through her business Nutriphoria LLC.  Holloway’s mission is to create a path to greater vitality and freedom from disease through nutrition education and culinary practice.  She believes that fresh whole foods are therapeutic and taste great too.

At all NuGenesis wellness classes, Holloway teaches students how to cook with seasonal, nutrient dense ingredients, as well as how food works to help the body with every bite. Through simple and delicious recipes, she demonstrates to students how specific foods can help prevent chronic illness, or simply support a healthy lifestyle! 

Holloway’s kale-abration salad is the perfect example of how healthy foods can come together to make delicious meals while providing the body with vital antioxidants and nutrients.

Kale-abration Salad

1 large bunch kale (about 8 c.)
1 large clove garlic* finely minced
2 T. olive oil
2 T. honey
½ tsp. salt
Thin slices of red onion
1/3 c. walnuts, pecans or other nut
1 Gala apple, chopped
1 cup raspberries
1/3 c. raisins or craisins (optional)

Finely slice (chiffonade) the kale. Make a paste with the garlic and salt by pressing with the flat blade of a knife. In a small bowl mix in the olive oil and honey. Put the sliced kale in a large bowl and massage the garlic mixture…

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Learn to make rustic dishes like Chef Shovlin's rabbit meatballs at this year's Home & Garden show.
Learn to make rustic dishes like Chef Shovlin's rabbit meatballs at this year's Home & Garden show.

Fresh Cooking at the Home & Garden Show: Chef Shovlin's rabbit meatballs

The Fresh Cooking Patio at this year’s Realtors Home & Garden Show promises to enliven your taste buds with a packed selection of cooking demonstrations from area chefs and food experts.  Read more and get the full Cooking Patio schedule.

On Friday, March 27 at 5:30 p.m., Chef Bradford Shovlin of Smyth Restaurant in the Iron Horse Hotel will present a session entitled "Rustic Wisconsin Fare in the form of Wrought Cuisine."

Chef Bradford Shovlin is a native of Detroit, Michigan. His earliest cooking memories involved spending time with his late father in his home kitchen before he was even able to see above the stove. His dad's intensity and attention to detail to cuisine, though not a professional chef, resulted from his job as a highly successful plastics and mechanical engineer. It was in this time that Shovlin realized his intended path in life.

While attending Western Michigan University, and earning a Bachelor's Degree, he spent time in several of the best restaurants in Kalamazoo. After a two-year stint at The Hill Seafood and Chophouse, under Michael Connery, Shovlin attended and graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y.

He then headed to Chicago, where he worked at North Pond with Bruce Sherman, and then with Suzy Crofton of Crofton on Wells, where the restaurant earned a one-Michelin star rating during his tenure. Chef Shovlin was most recently the Executive Chef of two successful start-ups, in Seattle and in Chicago, before landing here in Milwaukee at The Iron Horse Hotel.


This recipe for rabbit meatballs showcases some of what the audience will see and taste from Chef Shovlin on Friday evening at the show.

Rabbit Meatballs

2 pounds rabbit
Âľ pound pork butt
2 rabbit livers, soaked in ice water overnight, if available

Panada:
2 eggs
1 ÂĽ cups Panko breadcrumbs
1 cup Heavy cream
ÂĽ cup Dijon mustard
½ cup Parsley, finely chopped
1 cup Sartori SarVecchio, rasped
2 shallots, sliced
6 cloves garlic, sliced
ÂĽ cup…

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At the 2015 Home & Garden Show, personal chef Karen Gill will show  consumers how to make the most of their grocery dollars while still eating delicious, varied
At the 2015 Home & Garden Show, personal chef Karen Gill will show consumers how to make the most of their grocery dollars while still eating delicious, varied

Fresh Cooking at the Home & Garden Show: Karen Gill's garbonzo & cashew burgers

The Fresh Cooking Patio at this year’s Realtors Home & Garden Show promises to enliven your taste buds with a packed selection of cooking demonstrations from area chefs and food experts.  Read more and get the full Cooking Patio schedule.

On Thursday, March 26 at 6 p.m., Karen Gill, personal chef at Down to Earth Chef will present a session entitled "Different Meals, Same Ingredients," showing consumers how to make the most of their grocery dollars while still eating delicious, varied meals.

Gill’s garbanzo and cashew burgers are part of a multi-recipe plan featuring tomato, garbanzo beans, cashews, onions, bell peppers, parsley, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes in oil.

Garbanzo & Cashew Burgers with Raw Marinara

Two 15 ounce cans (4 cups) cooked garbanzo beans, drained of any liquid
1.5 cups cashew pieces
1 medium onion, diced
½ each of medium sized red & yellow bell pepper, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
small handful fresh parsley leaves
2 tablespoons olive oil, more for cooking burgers
1 teaspoon each cumin, paprika, dried oregano (or use small handful fresh oregano leaves)
few grinds each of salt & pepper
cornmeal for dusting burgers
buns, if desired

Place all ingredients, except cornmeal, in the bowl of a large food processor. Pulse until well blended, yet slightly chunky. Add a bit of water if mixture is too dry or thick. Using a ½ cup measure, scoop out mixture and form into 6-8 patties. Dust lightly with cornmeal. If patties seem too lose, form and place on a baking sheet and freeze, about 20 minutes, in freezer. Heat 1-2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Place patties in skillet and cook until browned, about 4-5 minutes per side.

Marinara
2 fresh Roma tomatoes or any tomatoes you have (try 8 oz diced tomatoes from a can)
½ cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil
handful fresh parsley
½  small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
small handful fresh basil leaves
few fresh oregano leaves
salt & pepper, to taste
extra virgin olive oil, as needed

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