Molly Birnbaum's Season to Taste

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Molly Birnbaum talks about how she found her way—in the kitchen and beyond—after an accident destroyed her sense of smell. An aspiring chef, she was afraid that not being able to smell meant not being able to cook, but she tells how she picked herself up and set off on a quest to learn to smell again in Season to Taste: How I Lost My Sense of Smell and Found Myself.


Molly Birnbaum

Comments [12]

dboy from nyc

@ larry ordine from bayside

... still a snoozer and I'm afraid Mr. Bad, in addition to being bad may also be correct.

Jun. 27 2011 11:01 AM
larry ordine from bayside

dboy you're right mr bad is correctly named.

Look-- she went to Brown, studied art, writes a blog, been published in the NY Times and wrote a book that Lopate's producers found interesting enough to invite her on the show. I liked her. I think her repeated use of the phrase "for sure" convinced Mr bad that she's just a kid. I think it's a MA regionalism-- and if she spent 6 years recovering from the wreck., she must be at least thirty. Dumb kids don't get together with oliver sacks and discuss neurology. Larry

Jun. 23 2011 07:38 PM

@ larry ordine from bayside


How 'bout that Mr. Bad??

Jun. 23 2011 10:33 AM
larry ordine from bayside

dboy --play nice--she has a nice voice and her experience is interestiing even if she hasn't figured her life out yet. Larry

Jun. 22 2011 05:43 PM
Mr. Bad from NYC

@ dboy

Yup, this girl must have incredible connections. Can you imagine the book pitch? "A privileged, aimless young white woman is involved in an ACCIDENT (dun dun dun), experiences PAIN and DISCOMFORT, temporarily loses her SENSE OF SMELL and is diverted from her most recent whimsy (cooking school) BEFORE SHE COULD EVEN START! (GASP!) She continues living her lovely, self indulgent life and regains her sense of smell in time with luck, GREAT medical care, rich friends and a grueling, exhausting regime of SMELLING. Lower nose, sniff, repeat... truly a triumph of the human spirit and a sure fire hit memoir....

Jun. 22 2011 01:46 PM
Marc parrilli from new jersey

It's interesting that Rosemary may have been partly responsible or just been there coincidentally when some of her sense came back. Rosemary contains 10 to 12 % naturally occuring camphor, which is rather pungent and like menthol in peppermint, opens up the sinuses. some of these herbal chemical constituents could have a healing effect.

Jun. 22 2011 01:32 PM

... snooozer!

Jun. 22 2011 01:30 PM

I'm enjoying this segment, and just made myself my customary cup of tea, and it's never smelled so good or so comforting!

Jun. 22 2011 01:29 PM
Mr. Bad from NYC

Wow, Lenny, from the ELF doc to this ?!? We all know how you like your foodie friends but this woman is such an obnoxious, whiny, nobody.

OK, just kidding, Her brave personal struggle to "smell again" is truly compelling... and no doubt already a legend among the hipster set who also struggle vainly with their bunions, cocaine addiction and finishing college. Can we set up a Non Profit to help these poor folk? Count me in!

Jun. 22 2011 01:24 PM
George from NJ

I lost my sense of smell when I became Kosher 6 years ago and never mixed it. It's starting to come back now, and I'm not sure I like it. It seems to come back when I pass the wrong places.

Not sure why I lost smell, but I suspect it's so I wouldn't yearn for bacon that I used to love.

Jun. 22 2011 01:16 PM
Sophie from Poughkeepsie, NY

As an avid cook and perfume sniffer, I would be very depressed if my sense of smell disappeared.

Jun. 22 2011 01:15 PM
Ellen from Brooklyn

I temporarily lost my sense of smell from a bad cold. It was only gone for a matter of days, a week most, and it was INCREDIBLY frustrating. I never really thought of myself as someone with a particularly strong sense of smell but losing it completely was intense. Food wasn't enjoyable anymore. I just felt... lost and frustrated. It was very strange

Jun. 22 2011 01:12 PM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.