5 Minute Listening: Enjoy your food again

  • Two chefs talk about their new cookbook which aims to help  those experiencing a loss of taste and smell due to Covid-19.
  • Listen to the audio and answer the questions.
Doris Wai |

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Listen to the audio here


Lee Hae-won: Loss of taste and smell is one of the persisting symptoms for Covid-19 patients. Now, a new cookbook aims to help those people enjoy food again. Taste and Flavour features 18 recipes and is now available for free digital download. Today, we have with us the authors of the cookbook, chefs Rachel and Kimberley. Hi chefs!

Rachel and Kimberley: Hi Hae-won!

Lee Hae-won: Could you tell us more about Taste and Flavour? 

Rachel: Sure. Kimberley and I spent months formulating the recipes. They are designed specifically for those experiencing a loss of taste and smell due to Covid-19.

Kimberley: We started this book project after finding out from a doctor friend that around 10 per cent of people who become infected with Covid-19 become long-haulers, meaning they have symptoms that last for months, and for some, indefinitely.

Lee Hae-won: Right. Several studies have shown that while some regain their smell and taste within a couple of weeks, the symptoms have persisted for many without improvement.

Rachel: Indeed. Some Covid-19 long-haulers have anosmia, a loss of smell or taste, while others suffer from parosmia, a distorted sense of smell. And so, we decided to put our experience running a cooking school for cancer patients experiencing taste loss to good use.

Lee Hae-won: Could you tell us more about the science behind this?

Kimberley: It’s quite simple, really. Smell makes up 80 per cent of our taste and so the two senses are intertwined. With this in mind, we created recipes that involved heightening certain flavors while avoiding others.

Lee Hae-won: That’s fascinating. What are some examples of such flavours?

Rachel: We focused on intense savoury flavours like soy sauce, miso, parmesan, and mushrooms, and tried to touch on all five basic tastes – sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and umami – and stimulate all the senses.

Kimberley: We also avoided coffee, which can smell like sewage to some people with parosmia. The same goes for foods like onion, garlic, eggs, roasted meat, and nuts. They can smell repulsive, almost like rotting flesh to these individuals.

Lee Hae-won: Wow. It must be quite hard to write a recipe without garlic and onions. They're the basis of flavour.

Kimberley: Yeah. We tested nearly 300 recipes to narrow them down to the 18 that made it into the book. 

Lee Hae-won: And what’s your favourite recipe in the cookbook?

Kimberley and Rachel (in unison): Miso butter potatoes! (laughs)

Lee Hae-won: Haha! That sounds delicious!

Rachel: I think this is the perfect recipe in the sense that the potatoes have a strong buttery taste and are umami-rich with miso. The green chili adds crunch for texture, while the vinegar sets off the sour receptor.

Kimberley: Even though it seems like a simple recipe, it's actually designed to stimulate all of the senses and the different taste buds.

Lee Hae-won: Sounds like an amazing comfort dish to enjoy, Covid-19 long-haulers or not! The reception toTaste and Flavour  has been incredible, and the book has been downloaded more than a million times since it was published last week. Thanks for your time, chefs Rachel and Kimberly, and I can’t wait to try out all the recipes in the cookbook.

Kimberley and Rachel: You’re welcome!


1.   B

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3.   D

4.   D

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8.   A

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10. C

11. D

12. A

13. D

14. A

15. C

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