Monday, February 15, 2010

Bells & Whistles

Some Pictures






Pine Mouth - Long Story Short: Stay Away from Chinese Pine Nuts

Friday a friend of mine made a pesto.  Yesterday (Sunday) I was tidying up the kitchen and went to put the pine nuts in the right cabinet.  Of course I popped some in my mouth and went about my business.  As I finished the beer I was drinking I noticed a distinct bitter flavor in the back of my mouth which I dismissed as some lingering aftertaste of the Abita Turbodog I had left over from the Superbowl.  By the time I went to bed it had gotten pervasive though the last Turbodog had been consumed four or five hours before.

Unfortunately today I am constantly tasting this bitter taste in the back of my mouth and tongue.  I complained about it to my better half earlier today and she asked if I had eaten any pine nuts.  It actually took me a few moments to realize I had snacked on them.  Turns out she had read on one of her food blogs about the phenomenon known as "pine mouth" that was being caused by certain pine nuts.  Sadly this effect would appear to persist for days and even weeks! Its onset may have been triggered by my snacking on the pine nuts and that effecting those I had eaten as pesto two days before, or the snacked pine nuts may have been coincidental

Here's a picture of the offending pine nuts:

If there was ever an argument against buying any "American" types of food from China, this is it. The closest thing to a scientific study of this (totally observational but observed by scientists self experimenting) is here, and a pretty good article about it is here.  Not much information out there (though what is has thousands of responses of people experiencing this) but one thing I can tell you is if this taste sticks around for a couple of weeks I'm going to be very unhappy.  Here's a quick synopsis of what I've found out:
1.  It would appear this is caused by Chinese pine nuts only.
2.  It is probably caused by the nuts being heated in transit (imagine containers full of them riding cargo ships across the ocean) and the heat altering certain triglycerides.
3.  This is not caused by contamination by heavy metals or pesticides.
4.  It seems onset is around two days after ingestion.
5.  The effects last from several days to over two weeks.
6.  It does not effect smell but wreaks havoc on your taste buds.