(This post is dedicated to Ralph Nieboer, bread artist extraordinaire, who gently nudged me into writing this post.)
So, this virus that decimated my taste buds (flavor buds) last year, has yet to kill my love or enthusiasm for bread. Despite the fact that I can no longer smell the heavenly scent of (home) baked bread (do I have you in tears yet?) I forge on, always trying out new breads but judging them by texture rather than flavor.
The true extend of my taste bud demise was made clear to me last week on a short get-away to Seattle. I know, I know! Most people would ask themselves the very reasonable question “Why would I want to escape sunny San Diego to travel to rainy Seattle?” Well, I cannot, of course, speak for you (and you were the one asking the question after all) but as far as I am concerned, I happen to have a very dear friend who knew it was time to get out of town for a few days and kindly booked me a flight. Don’t you wish you had a friend like that?
Now, there were three of us on this trip. Two Asian* ladies, completely devoid of any sense of direction, and Yours Truly who never goes anywhere in unknown territory without a map . But this trip was different. I just kind of tagged along, figuring that “she” who planned the trip and has the map, must surely know where to go! Is this not a logical assumptions? Thank you for agreeing with me.
Well, on our second day, the great plan was to hunt down the Grand Central Bakery which had been praised not only in the guide book but also on my internet search for the best bread bakeries in Seattle.
We had already hit Pike Place Market in the morning and I left it to the ladies to get us on the shortest walking route to the bakery. Trusting soul that I am. So, we walked up 1st Avenue, on and on and on…, talking and commenting on the beautifully visually pleasing architectures and facades of ALL the buildings (no exception) in Seattle. Oh, and just so you know, even the manhole covers in Seattle are pretty:
picturesque manhole cover
So we kept on walking and walking, and I imagined us being on a bread pilgrimage, our very own Santiago de Compostela to the Grand Central Bakery. At least, that’s what it seemed like. Every once in a while we would stop to take some pictures. Did I say “once in a while”? Understatement of the century! I have noticed that Asian people are obsessed with taking pictures and more so obsessed with taking pictures of themselves. Which leads me to believe that the inventor of the “selfie” most likely was of Asian origin. In any case, it was during one of those pit pic stops, that we looked up and across the street and Asian Lady number 2 exclaimed: “Oh, look! The Space Needle!”
What’s the Space Needle doing here?
Now, if we had planned to visit the Space Needle this particular day, this would have been a welcomed sight! However, upon my forceful removal of the map from the clutches of Asian lady number 1 and locating the Space Needle on it, it quickly dawned on me that I had submitted my trusting self to two individuals who were completely inept at the art of orienteering! Upon looking at the map and locating the Space Needle on it, I realized in horror that it was in the complete opposite direction of the Grand Central Bakery!
Oh, but visiting the Space Needle was “on the list” (what list? I never saw a list!!!) according to the Ladies and so we made adjustments to our plan. Now, I pride myself on being a flexible person but what happens when you “flex” something 180 degrees? I will tell you what happens… (crunch) -it breaks! This slight adjustment to our plans caused us to end up hiking 12 miles that day (I don’t walk that much when I am NOT on vacation!!!) from the Space Needle to Volunteer Park (I never volunteered for that one), to the Dahlia garden , to Bruce and Brendon Lee’s grave site (and that one was not even on “the list”) and other non-Grand-Central-Bakery attractions. Asian Lady 1 commented later to me that she noticed how “zoned out” I appeared. Heck yes, 12 miles can break anyone who is not accustomed to hard work walk! Did I mention that Asian Lady 1 is training for a marathon? (Hmm, maybe this was a set-up…?)
We did make it to the bakery the next day and upon being within one block of our destination, Asian lady number 1 practically has an olfactory orgasm, smelling the wafting coming from the bakery. I can smell something but with my flavor bud handicap, cannot define it. So I ask my friend: “What does it smell like?” And she, every so helpful, informs me that it smells of bakery.
Really? But I am not to be placated that quickly. “Does it smell like bread or cinnamon rolls?” “Definitely bread.” she says and it was that instant that I realize that I should be receiving disability payments.
Upon preparing for sleep in the comfortable hotel bed of the Motif Hotel that night, sleep would not come because I was contemplating the following:
A blind person is considered legally blind despite the fact that they may still be able to see silhouettes of people and objects. I am doubly impaired because it affects my sense of taste AND smell. Do you know how dangerous it is to be without a sense of smell? I could be leaving the stove on (and I have) and never even smell the burning of the food! The nice people at SDG&E kindly add something to the gas, so when there is a gas leak you can smell it and clear out before the whole place blows up. Well, if there is a leak in my house, I am totally done for! Gas I cannot smell AT ALL!
So, upon laying in bed sleepless (in Seattle) I am contemplating the fact that there is no term for the impairment of the olfactory senses when there rightly should be. And it has to be a four letter word like deaf, mute or blind except those are, of course, already taken.
So, on behalf of all those who are olfactory impaired, I implore you (found a way to use one of my favorite words…) to help us define who we are by coining a word that would aid us to get this disability in the big book of medical terms that’s being used for defining eligibility for disabilities.
Please submit your answers in a reply to this post or on my facebook page . We, the olfactory impaired citizens of this great nation of ours would be ever so grateful to you!!!
And let me reward you for your efforts with a few more bread/bakery related pictures from our trip
*Asian Lady #1 is my BFF Sandy S.