Joke Boon: The chef who cannot scent or style

(CNN) – How would that feel if you stopped smelling?

It is a question that has become increasingly common this year.

Anosmia – or “skin odor” – is a condition thought to affect about 5% of the population.

But with the loss of the sense of smell and / or taste of the two most common Covid-19 markers, these unpredictable traits have become a global phenomenon.

Not only are people unable to smell or taste when they are infected with the virus, but many people report a temporary loss of this ability, meaning that even after they have recovered from other symptoms, their world continues to smell.

So what happens, all of a sudden, when you lose your sense of smell and taste?

Dutch author Joke (Yok-e) Boon suffers from asthma – a disorder of the sense of smell. He lost his sense of smell when he was four years old – probably combining the common cold and removing tons of it.

And while his tongue still retained his senses, the lack of odor meant that he distinguished only five – sweet, salty, bitter, bitter, umami – and oily. Doctors say he has lost about 94% of his bright mind.

Despite this, he wrote five cookbooks. So how is it possible for an odorless person to eat? For Boon, it’s mostly his brain – using facial nerves.

Touch your nerves

Starting with the ear and releasing three cords to the face, nose and jaw, the trigeminal nerve enhances visual acuity on the face. They are designed to protect us from harm – stimulants, fumes and ammonia. But some foods can be extinguished.

“Do you know how you feel when you eat too much wasabi at one time?” says Boon. “I use these nerves to ‘taste’ my food, I play with it. I can also smell ginger, mint, mustard and pepper like this. Peppers and ginger are warm and sensitive, while mint and horseradish can feel cool. ”

The appearance of the food is important, too. “Color is very important,” he says. “I don’t like white food because for me white is not the same as taste. The appearance and tone of the food plays a big role, too. Nuts sound different from nuts.

The sound of nuts

“It has to do with the amount of fat – hazelnut gives a strong crack, a lot of soft nuts. When you listen, you also feel the difference between carrot and apple.”

Despite having such a problem, Boon always loves to cook. “Food was very important since I was a child,” he says. “My mother survived the Dutch Hunger Winter [a famine from 1944-1945] so everything depends on food.

“Even though I haven’t tasted anything, I wanted to participate. I started experimenting as a kid and started writing my own recipes.”

Not surprisingly, she likes foods that she uses for fragrance or strong aroma. Mexican and Indian cuisine are some of their favorites. “I really like the spices they use in their dishes and the different types of peppers,” she says.

“I also love Scandinavian cuisine, which uses a lot of onions, fennel, mustard, beets and horseradish.”

Having nosmia

Joke Boon’s satay burger (see Secret below)

Courtesy of Saskia Lelieveld

Outside the kitchen, anosmia can be equally severe, which affects patients’ self-esteem.

“I’m always afraid I can smell it,” Boon says. “And I have to create some ways to judge the people I meet, as you often use the scent to find out (after a minute) whether you like people or not.”

They receive many messages from those who have a problem that is struggling with the problem. “Sometimes he commits suicide,” she says. “They tell me that nothing seems right.

“You are separated from the world when you lose your scent. Suddenly, the world as you know it doesn’t make sense because you don’t realize it anymore.”

Those who are unaware of the problem, however, call it “lucky” – because they can no longer smell, say, less fragrances.

“Or they try to comfort me by saying that deafness or blindness is bad,” she says.

“But this is not a mental war. We have five reasons. And if you don’t smell it, you lose taste, then you lose both.”

Feeling sucked

In an effort to help his fellow victims, Boon began to combine his promises in 2010.

“Apparently there was a way I started cooking, especially using paint, texture, heat, words and spices you hear – you hear crying,” she says.

My food is very tasty. “The collection became his first cookbook. He has now written five.

There’s one thing Boon really likes and it’s not because it’s his name (“boon” is Dutch bean).

“I love beans !,” she says. “It’s creamy inside and you have a lot of color. Brown beans with bacon, onions, piccalilli and boiled potatoes. If you give me this dish, I’m happy.”

When it comes to drinks, you may think that alcohol can be good for people with asthma – not just hearing it in your mouth and throat, but affecting the whole body. And even though Boon doesn’t drink a lot – “fortunately I can’t drink well, otherwise I would have been drinking all the time” – there’s one thing he likes about champagne.

“Champagne is my favorite because of the foam – especially the pink because it looks so good.” Bright water is another favorite, thanks to foam.

What not to eat

There are some things they do not eat. “The food is exotic, which is why I don’t like the ingredients and the black pudding – because I was a nurse once,” she says. “I eat little meat – I feel sad when I see pets being carried.” Slimy is no exception. “Snails – urgh! Or if the herb doesn’t cook well.”

Boon message for those who have lost their scent: look at the three nerve stimuli, and taste with your brain and your intellect. Cook your food, so you can choose what is in it.

And most of all, buy a smoke detector, a fire extinguisher and a fire blanket immediately.

“The smell is unpleasant,” he admits. “But you can have a wonderful life if you know.”

An inspiring secret

Vegetarian burger with peanut butter mayonnaise, acar and seroendeng from De Vega Optie (The Vegetarian Choice) author Joke Boon

He makes four


For burgers:

75 grams (2.6 hours) cooked kidney beans, closed

1 onion, cut

1 clove of garlic, peeled

Salt nuts 150gr5,30 oz

15gr 0.50 oz oatmeal

Egg 1

½ tbsp sambal badjak

¼ tsp dry powder

1 tsp cumin on the bottom

1 tsp coriander seeds

½ tsp five-spice powder

½ tsp ginger powder

fried oil

For peanut mayonnaise:

2 tbsp mayonnaise

1 tbsp butter (smooth or smooth)

½ tbsp sambal badjak

½ tbsp sweet soy sauce

1 tbsp lemon juice

1 tsp ketchup

1 cucumber


2 tbsp

4 tbsp acar, closed

One hard bag

4 designs designed


If you are using canned kidney beans, put them in a sieve, rinse under running water and rinse thoroughly. Add onions, garlic, nuts, beans, oatmeal, egg, sambal and all spices into a saucepan and whisk until you have a smooth paste.

Form four burgers from the mixture. Allow to refrigerate for 15-30 minutes.

Pour 3 tablespoons of oil into a roasting pan and cook the burgers on both sides for 8-10 minutes.

Peanut mayonnaise, keep it all together.

Cut the cucumber into thin slices. Cut the lumps and open a little (2-3 minutes) in a dry pan. Divide half of the pea and peanut butter mayonnaise and place slices of cucumber on top.

Place the satay buray on cucumber slices and place a tablespoon of lemonade on top of the burger. Smoke with a tablespoon of o seroendeng.

Place on top of it with one teaspoon of chopped acres and then place half on top of it.

Serve the burger in a bowl with an extra acre and a krupuk on the side.

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