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It’s Not A Tumor-Nator (and WINNERS!)

FIRST sorry sorry, I forgot to post the winners of Bridget Asher’s delightful new novel, The Provence Cure for the Brokenhearted.

The RNG got WEIRD this time, picking two little teeny front- numbers and then setting them next to each other to make the two digit third winning number, a pick so odd it HAS to be random. If you are one of these people, email your snail addy to Joshilyn at Joshilyn jackson dot com and I will make sure this book begins to wend its way to you!

heidi — April 19, 2011 at 9:15 am Now I have to find her other books too. Sounds lovely!

daysgoby — April 19, 2011 at 9:16 am Perhaps the Demon Formerly Known As Boggart just needed to go to France? (And now pictures of your cat with a beret, twirling his whiskers are flooding my head!!) I LOVE books! And Asher’s books, especially!

Sharon Faith Graves : April 19, 2011 at 2:42 pm This looks like a great read! Thanks so much for sharing it! I love your writing as well.

Scott and I have, for YEARS, taken turns suggesting that the other has a brain tumor and being told forcefully in dreadful fake-Austrian accents that whatever it is, IT IS NOT A TOOOMAH. IT’S NOT A TOOMAH. AT ALL.

A partial list of things you can say that can cause your spouse to suggest you have a tumor:

“I have a headache.”
“I think I need new glasses.”
“Do you smell that? No? Well, I smell something funky.”
“I want to clean the kitchen, but I can’t seem to get up and make myself go clean the kitchen.”

It’s all jolly good fun and Arnold-larious until you think you actually have a tumor. Or diabetes. Or mouth cancer caused by YEARS of STOOPID smoking. Or a total brain deterioration with bonus nightmare synesthesia induced by book release.

I started TASTING things in my mouth that were not, that had never been, that will NEVER, God willing, NEVER EVER be in my mouth. Things like death. And liquid aluminum. And what I imagine troll poo tastes like. And the physical, tastely manifestation of bitter regret.

It was awful. Worse, putting ANYTHING pleasant in my mouth, like water, or a cookie, or chicken would cause this WEIRD horror taste to rear up and flood my mouth, so the water and the cookie and the chicken were overwhelmed by this PALPABLE MIASMA of SLIMY AWFUL.

Let’s pause to Brightside: I am currently on week 4 of the LOSE TEN IN TEN challenge I failed SO Spectacularly over on Five Full Plates, and thanks to all food becoming as ashes – not even as pleasant as that, really. More like, all food becoming as partially charred meat-ashes containing rancid worm remains— I am down almost eight pounds. That may be CHEATING but HEY, I take my foul-mouthed comfort where I can.

Before I went in to talk to Dr. House about my impending mysterious liver failure caused by my possible TUMAHHHHH (all I knew for SURE was, It’s not lupus…), I went to see the cheaper and much less time consuming Dr. Google.

Dr. Google’s DOWNSIDE, of course, is that when you go and type in your symptoms to see if you are having, say, a mild allergic reaction, he will search in his medical bowels and pull out the idea that you that you have rare Maltesian blood fleas and will actually be dead in seventeen minutes.

Even so. I went to him, and typed in the following plaintive query, “Mouth tastes bad. Am I dying?”

Dr. Google said, no. Dr. Google said, “IT’S NOT A TUMAHH! IT’S NOT A TUMAHHHHH. AT ALL.” Dr. Google said I had PINE MOUTH.


I had this REALLY fantastic salad last week—-baby spinach and field greens with strawberries, blackberries, goat cheese and pine nuts.

DIGRESSION, in the worst place for a digression, which is RIGHT BEFORE THE POINT: My theory, on the ten in ten challenge, is that it is easier to WIN at diet if everything you eat is AMAZING. I am being very liberal with the sashimi lunches and the fresh avocado and the grilled shrimp and the imported goat cheese and plump berries and other luxury NON JUNK delights right now. And let me tell you – This really explains a lot about GOOP. If I had this kind of food budget EVERY week, I would be thin as a rail and yet weeping with ecstasy over my “diet” lunch plate.

NOW THE POINT: Apparently the pine nuts I had were TERRIBLE pine nuts, imported from China and chock full of SOMETHING BAD that no one knows what it is. A preservative chemical? A bacteria? Angry mouth ghosts? No one knows. The only symptom of Pine Mouth is everything tastes like hairy death for WEEKS AND WEEKS.

Doc Google had a few suggestions; I am taking activated charcoal and eating raw parsley (for the chlorophyll) and drinking Aloe Vera juice (which, truth be told, is the only edible thing I have encountered that actually tastes WORSE than pine mouth…in fact the first time I shot a 4 ounce serving it tried to shoot right back) and it seems to be helping. A little. But WOW. If this keeps up I am going to need to get nutrients via osmosis or a nose tube, because, EW.

If you eat pine nuts, CHECK THE PACKAGE. Get the ones from Cailfornia—and not the TRICKY ones that say DISTRUBUTED form California in BIG red letters and ‘from China” in teeny tiny letters hidden near the bottom.

Have you ever heard of this? Have you ever HAD this? Other than what I am doing, WHAT MAKES IT STOP?

28 comments to It’s Not A Tumor-Nator (and WINNERS!)

  • I HAVE heard of this! It seems to be a problem with the food bloggers I read. But I’ve never heard the China thing. I thought you just had to avoid eating too many pine nuts, that once you got over a certain threshold they destroyed your taste buds. But all of this is like 3rd-hand from the random blogs I read. Then again, perhaps it is just as accurate as Dr. Google.

  • elswhere

    Yes! I have had pine mouth! A mild version, though, where everything tastes just a *little bit* of gasoline. I got it from evil Trader Joe’s pine nuts and once I realized what I was I had to throw out a whole unopened package of pine nuts which was sad, but not as sad as everything tasting like gasoline.

  • Mary

    I had this and I thought it was terrible! My husband ate the same pine nuts and had no problems at all. My understanding is that some people are bothered while others are not. Ever since then I just stay away from pine nuts. So be careful with pesto. Also? Only time healed it for me. Lasted for weeks. It was horrible. Sorry.

  • Karen

    Perhaps you’ve landed on the next new diet craze, and there will now be a run on pine nuts from China. Eew, indeed.

  • Saskia

    Thank you for this post, for I now know what that taste in my mouth is. It’s not as bad as yours, but it is rendering my delicious sandwiches not so delicious – even my coffee tastes funky. I had pine nuts with my spinach last night, and I guess they were too old..as soon as I get home I’m throwing them away! And I’m hoping since the taste in my mouth is slightly mild, I won’t have to suffer for weeks…

  • WandaV

    Never had pine nut mouth, but I keep wondering why my coffee and my orange scented shampoo and conditioner all smell like cigarette smoke to me. None of us are smokers. Hmmmm. Must be a tooomaah. Ack!

  • I’ve had this! I didn’t know what it was but I went through a couple of weeks where everything tasted bitter. Good to know. May your tastebuds recover to only taste lovely, clean, sweet tastes.

  • Em

    Let this be a lesson to you healthy people. Aside from an extra 40 lbs and a recurring case of inertia, my steady diet of french fries has me in tip top condition for my lifestyle of reading blogs and books and driving my kids to school.

    I do hope your taste buds resume their regularly schedules tasting soon.

  • Nancy

    I have heard the Chinese can be bad. In general, food from China isn’t held to a very high standard, so I avoid buying anything from there. I’ve always heard to buy Mediterranean pine nuts, from Spain or Turkey or Israel, so I always check the package. They are kind of expensive, but way better than how pine mouth sounds, and they last over a year kept in the freezer.

  • Nancy

    That first sentence should say “I have heard the Chinese pine nuts can be bad.” Not anything like it sounded.

  • Thank you for the novel! Can’t wait to read it.

  • Mel

    Wow! I learned something new today. Who knew pine nuts could cause such problems? I’ve never had a problem eating pine nuts from the guy on the side of the road in the canyon which means his are obviously not from China.

  • Aimee

    Well, it may not be a tooooooooomah, but it sure is weird. I’ve never heard of this, but I love pine nuts and will make sure NEVER to buy any from China.

    hope your mouth tastes better soon. (and THERE’S a sentece I never thought I’d be typing today.)

  • Pine mouth? Huh. I don’t know what makes it stop, but I bet your saliva could degrease my kitchen cabinet fronts like WHOA.

  • Lulu

    Ugh. That made me throw up a little in sympathy. Now my mouth tastes bad & I haven’t even had any pine nuts in a while…we buy pine nuts at Costco. I hope they don’t source them from China.

    Have you tried scrubbing with straight baking soda? And rinsing with hydrogen peroxide? That’s also a bit barfy, but might help. And? Maybe one of these: http://www.whole-body-detox-diet.com/tongue-scraper.html (I’ve never used one, it just seemed…relevant. And possibly helpful.)

    Good luck!

  • JulieB

    Hee. Just checked the pine nuts in the fridge. They were from China. And expired.

  • Lulu

    Sorry, sorry — I really didn’t mean to imply that you don’t brush well enough, honey. Reading up on this, it sounds like a systemic reaction, not a matter of lingering particles or a coating in the mouth. Super bummer. And bleah.

    I do think that if I am ever unfortunate enough get this, I will still want to debride the entire inside of my mouth…

  • Heheheh no offense taken– I will say this; I had the same reaction!!! Went and brushed and flossed and the MINTY floss and toothpaste ACTIVATED the taste just as eating would, so it taste like I was brushing my teeth with minty fresh slime-mold-spores.

    THE CHARCOAL SEEMS TO BE HELPING — 50% less bad at lunch today!

    Also ACIDIC foods seem to help—-LOTS of balsamic Vin on my grilled shrimp/avocado salad made it edible.

  • I eat pine nuts all the time, and this has only happened once…but it sure was nasty for the couple of days it lasted

  • Amy-Go

    Is it bad that my IMMEDIATE reaction (being that I am on a diet, and I despise being on a diet) was “I am totally gonna go get myself some chinese pine nuts and sabotage my taste buds!”

    I may have missed the point.

  • So weird that Alton Brown’s Good Eats episode this week talked about this very thing. I’m sorry you are suffering!!

  • Scottsdale Girl

    Reason #4583 that I am glad I am a PICKY eater. Plehh to Pine Nuts

  • I agree with Scottsdale Girl– yet another reason I’m happy I don’t eat pine nuts (or any nuts, for that matter). Icky icky icky! Hope it goes away soon!

  • Bless your heart, that is truly awful. But if you look on the bright side, I guess it’s better than having an actual TUMAH. In our house I am always the one who is sure I have a TUMAH, and my husband is the one who insists, “It is NOT a TUMAH! Quit being crazy!”

  • Laura

    So weird- this JUST happened to my younger sister. Did you happen to get the pine nuts at Trader Joes? She said it went away in about a week.

  • Laura

    btw, the Trader Joes pine nuts are from Russia and Korea.

  • Watashi

    NPR report on the phenomenon: “Pine Nuts May Be To Blame For That Bitter Aftertaste.”

  • Brigitte

    I actually did read about that somewhere recently. Now I have to go see where my pine nuts come from! Though that may be the only thing that can stop me eating before mitosis sets in and we end up with two of me.