July 18, 2020

Mom has been losing her sense of taste and smell for years. Or lost it years ago? Hard to say from my vantage point. Tonight I made barbecue sauce to put on her pork chop, in an attempt to make her meals a little less same-old-same-old. After dinner I asked her if she preferred her pork chop the usual way or if she liked the bbq sauce on it better. She didn’t taste the bbq sauce.
They say the taste of sweet is the last taste to go in Alzheimer’s patients. The advice is often given to add some sweetness to food, like thinning grape jelly with water, then smearing it on chicken. I’ve never tried that technique, but I have used maple syrup and honey to flavor her food. The sauce I made was pretty sweet. It had fresh peaches, sweet enough on their own, as well as brown sugar, a lot of it, actually. She said she couldn’t even taste the peaches. I did.
Makes me sad. Not because I made the sauce; who cares about that. I mean, I’m sad that she can’t taste food anymore. I wonder what she does taste when I make the usuals: baked chicken, pressure cooked pork chop, steamed veggies like broccoli, carrots, spinach, and cauliflower. She likes sweet corn, but is she actually tasting the sweet corn? Or is she eating the memory of sweet corn from when she was a child?
Tonight when I told her we were having spinach she turned up her nose. She said she used to like spinach, but not anymore. She said, put some vinegar on it, and some hard boiled egg, then she’d eat it. I always do. She said she ate it that way when she was a child. I said, “I did, too.”
“You did?”
“Yes, that’s the way you made it for us.”
I think she didn’t remember that. And I wonder if at that moment she even knew me as her daughter. I so wonder what goes on in that brain of hers.

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