What are some dishes that emphasize texture?
August 14, 2013 3:14 PM   Subscribe

My mom may have permanently lost her senses of smell and taste due to a complication from a nasty virus she had in the spring. This is understandably depressing for her. What are some suggestions I can give her for foods that emphasize texture to help her find new ways to enjoy food?
posted by torisaur to Food & Drink (22 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Hard shell tacos are a nice combination of textures (shell, meat, lettuce, cheese). So is kappa maki (cucumber sushi rolls) if they are made well - you have the texture of the seaweed, the rice, and a bit of crispness from the cucumber.
posted by ella wren at 3:19 PM on August 14, 2013 [2 favorites]

the texture of popcorn is probably more satisfying than the taste.
posted by cacao at 3:23 PM on August 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

Mixes of temperature are also interesting. Like hot fudge sundaes. Or, my personal favorite, the garbage plate.
posted by i_am_a_fiesta at 3:24 PM on August 14, 2013 [3 favorites]

Maybe just simple substitutions: Crackers instead of bread, cookies instead of cake, dry cereal instead of cooked?
posted by Cranberry at 3:24 PM on August 14, 2013

Noodles! Asian noodles come in just about every shape, size, and texture.

Soba and ramen, rice and cellophane.

Ramen the dish, specifically, can have a lot of textural components, as all the toppings are cooked separately: soft boiled egg, pork belly, sprouts, onions, and bamboo. You've got a wide array of texture there from spongy to crisp.
posted by furnace.heart at 3:25 PM on August 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

Chocolate with cacao nibs.
Indonesian food: shrimp crackers; dry-toasted grated coconut-con-peanuts; the [sweet-and-sour] crunchy vegetable salad; slow-toasted-in-sweet-soy-sauce-and-now-almost-crisp Tempe, various Satays.
Really well prepared non-mushy Lasagne.
Really well-prepared non-grainy Polenta.
Nice large shrimp.

Ooh, I could go on.
My mom (a bit of the same problem) is already sooo happy when I'm there and I take over the rule in the kitchen...
posted by Namlit at 3:29 PM on August 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

I would LOVE the texture of fresh bell peppers if I couldn't smell/taste them. Are there any foods she previously didn't like to eat?
posted by aniola at 3:52 PM on August 14, 2013

People with anosmia can still get the "numbing" sensation from Sichuan pepper.
posted by Juliet Banana at 4:25 PM on August 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

How about jicama dipped in a creamy dip? Jicama doesn't have much of a flavor but it's crisp and juicy at the same time, and that makes a great contrast in textures with the dip. I would think any kind of fruit or vegetable that has that crunch and moisture, like watermelon or celery, would be satisfying on a textural level.
posted by Neely O'Hara at 4:30 PM on August 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

Tapioca pudding (made with the real pearls of tapioca in the soft pudding).

Maybe foods that were not so much about taste/smell anyway would be less frustrating -- cool, watery tofu, crisp iceberg lettuce with mayo.
posted by third rail at 4:30 PM on August 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

Or what Neely O'Hara said.
posted by third rail at 4:31 PM on August 14, 2013

posted by Thorzdad at 4:49 PM on August 14, 2013

I love the texture of in-season watermelon.

also, uh, those cheese-flavored orange balls that come in a huge tub at Costco. I like the way they dissolve as you press your tongue against them.
posted by joan_holloway at 5:04 PM on August 14, 2013 [4 favorites]

tapioca pudding
rice cakes
those Asian salad rolls in the chewy rice (?) paper filled with cold noodles and veggies
posted by coolsara at 5:09 PM on August 14, 2013

I like the stiff, whippy texture of Greek yogurt. Also whippy but less stiff: mousse.

And, oh! The crackling crust on creme brulee with the melting smoothness underneath.
posted by lakeroon at 5:09 PM on August 14, 2013 [2 favorites]

cold granola cereal with very cold milk. also grape nuts.
posted by fingersandtoes at 5:34 PM on August 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

An acquaintance of mine who has no taste also focuses on textured foods. However she can still taste peanuts and enjoys anything with that flavor-candies, sandwiches, sauces.

Also, try sprinkling sugar on sweet dishes. The granulation stands out if you don't mix it in.
Cinnammon sugar on vanilla icecream, for example.
posted by SLC Mom at 5:45 PM on August 14, 2013

I recently read a book called "Taste" by Barb Stuckey, and it made several mentions of foods that are enjoyable for people with these problems. (It also talks a little about relevant research.) Highly recommended.
posted by wintersweet at 6:39 PM on August 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

BBQ ribs.
posted by bonobothegreat at 6:48 PM on August 14, 2013

Taco salad has crunch from chips, soft tomatoes, a different crunch from lettuce, soft cheese, etc.
posted by wenestvedt at 7:29 PM on August 14, 2013

Coriander seeds are lots of fun. Try a lentils and rice dish with them.
posted by release the hardwoods! at 8:39 PM on August 14, 2013

I am experiencing a temporary loss of taste (thanks, ragweed!) , and am loving chewy things. Bread crusts (multigrain especially, it has the little seeds to snap with your teeth) , tapioca in bubble tea, dehydrated fruit.
posted by Fig at 5:06 AM on August 30, 2013

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