I once knew a woman who had absolutely no sense of taste. Not that she didn't have "taste," she had no sense of taste. A childhood viral infection had damaged the nerve fibers leading from the buds, and she couldn't taste anything at all. She literally couldn't taste the difference between steak and ice cream! She could tell them apart by texture and temperature and appearance, but the vast array of subtle taste sensations most of us enjoy was totally lacking. The only advantage she derived from this affliction was a remarkable ability to tolerate institutional cooking and the swill served in most fast-food restaurants.

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