March 23, 2016

If you lost the capacity to appreciate food, where would you travel?

Assume you have a medical condition that has destroyed the pleasure of eating food, so that finding new restaurants, sitting around reading menus and choosing things, and putting hours of each day into eating had become a burdensome, boring (not to mention expensive) activity for you, much worse than having access to the decently reliable, efficiently consumed foodstuffs you keep at home. Think about travel devoid of any food and restaurants aspect.

Where would you go? Why?

78 comments:

Amy said...

US National Parks. Their restaurants are contracted out to various vendors (with poor results). So you would get the best of both worlds - gorgeous natural splendo to enjoy, and bad food, which wouldn't bother you. Win/win.

Texas Annie said...

I already do. Vacations are centered around fishing. Usually trout which is fly fishing cast and release, so I don't even get to eat it. Don't really pay attention to what is available food-wise.

Laslo Spatula said...

"Assume you have a medical condition that has destroyed the pleasure of eating food..."

Would this affliction include not finding any food to be horrible in taste?

Because there are a lot of places I'd go if I could actually stomach the food.

Iceland, I am looking at you.

I am Laslo.

traditionalguy said...

Find a place with a nice grassy area or a beach to walk and to lie on in the sun and read or nap. Hopefully near many Museums or Historical tours.

Have you tried the Williamsburg area in the fall? Also try a week of plays at the Stratford Festival in the summer.

Roughcoat said...

Ireland.

Obviously.

policraticus said...

I think I would still visit the same various places I visit now. Although food is now very important to me when I visit Paris, for example, that isn't the main reason I go to Paris. I'd still be able to appreciate the Louvre, or the Orsay. A walk along the Seine would still be a happy occasion, a visit to St. Chappelle still inspiring. I might be more inclined to visit, say, Africa, or parts of Asia, since unpleasant food would no longer be a discouraging factor.

rehajm said...

I concur. Somewhere to appreciate things that entice the remaining senses you can stimulate. Sights. Sounds. Like nature? National parks. Biking in one of the flatter ones. Canoeing in the Appalachians. Is safari too far-e?

holdfast said...

England. Obviously.


Also, while apparently I have lost my sense of taste, I assume I can still sense texture? If so, I still want to avoid weird, slimy stuff.

CStanley said...

The Canadian Rockies.

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

I'm going to assume that not too many men travel to Thailand for the gaeng phet pet yang.

PB said...

I enjoy food. I hate restaurants (probably comes from having worked in them).

If I lost the ability to enjoy food, I'd probably go to a restaurant, so pretty much any place on the planet would be fine as long as it is warm, with a clean beach and a swimmable ocean.

traditionalguy said...

While the Euro is down for now try Norwegian Fjords.It will bring out the Viking in you. But that takes a Cruise ship that includes food by the ton.

Harold said...

I travel mostly because I like to travel, the food aspect is probably the least important to me. If I had to pick a destination though I think France would be fine, there are several museums I haven't had a chance to visit and I would like to revisit the Verdun Battlefield since my last visit was very short.

Big Mike said...

Madison, Wisconsin. The reason why is obvious.

Paddy O said...

I'd go to a natural area, maybe near but not in national parks, where I could rent a private cabin. Make your own food, put money into exploring. Camping without the discomfort.

Or pick a historical era or event, and explore that for a while. A Civil War tour. An "Old West" tour. A Revolutionary tour. With this find museums and art that you've not seen before. Or expanding on the latter, see the great art museums in a region.

An offbeat roadtrip where you stop at and blog about oddball attractions.

Find the beauty in nature or art or people. Food becomes just fuel for pressing on.

dustbunny said...

Morocco. I would have enjoyed it much more without the food.

Paddy O said...

Or drive "the perfect road trip."

rhhardin said...

I eat the same thing every day. The dog finds it exciting.

Eggs in the morning, rice and chicken for lunch, all dog favorites.

Alexander said...

This is such an ivory tower/beltway question.

"Sitting around reading menus" and "putting hours into each day eating," is simply not something the vast majority of Americans do, let alone make a priority when they travel... which is less frequently now, but because of money, and not because of any scolding over climate change by their more-well-traveled betters.

I'm someone who enjoys fine food, and do give it weight... but not enough to determine where I travel.

Added: Ha! My CAPTCHA was 'click the images that include FOOD'. Well played.

Amexpat said...

Ireland. The food is nothing special, but the pubs are. And who needs to eat a meal when you can drink it in a pint of Guinness.

Viking In Winter said...

I would say London. British food sucks for the most part. But London is over run with Arabs. Rude, rude people with too much money.

rhhardin said...

As for travel, I've been everywhere enough to know it's boring. My first thought is getting back home.

Unknown said...

Colorado. You can still get high, right?

rhhardin said...

The frozen Tyson (cooked) chicken breast chunks are better and cheaper than the unfrozen ones. They steam with rice to a drier texture, along with some veggie, peas usually.

It's all good to a dog. The highlight of the day, in fact.

rhhardin said...

The dog doesn't care for brussels sprouts. Probably unrelated to terrorism.

The Cracker Emcee said...

The Virgin River hike in Zion National Park is truly sublime.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Yeah, I'd work it the other way--which places are at least marginally interesting but have bad/smelly/offensive food/cuisine which would otherwise make them un-visitable...it could be a blessing!

Are there places people avoid because of really bad food? Somewhere with abundant durian maybe, or lots of fermented dishes? Korea has some pretty harsh foods, maybe over there? Kyrgyzstan, with it's fermented mare's milk!

rhhardin said...

I bought a lute in Tubingen, Germany. That was a highlight. Ernst Stieber, geigenbaumeister, made to order.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Ooh, ooh, Monroe Wisconsin, where (apparently) all the Limburger cheese produced in America is made!

Hmm, I may be missing the point of the exercise.

Mom2Es said...

Somewhere with pretty scenery but bland food. England, perhaps.

(I wouldn't because I've already been to England. Lived there, even. I'd pick somewhere that offered any other interesting thing I wanted to experience)

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Some of the northern European countries have some pretty rugged cuisine (lutefisk, pickled herring, that sort of thing) but have great landscapes, etc, so maybe being able to ignore the food would make it more worthwhile to go there.
The same is probably true of someplace with a reputation for bland food, like England, I suppose, but honestly in most developed nations it's probably easy enough to get "standard" Western-type food that taking local/regional food out of the equation won't make much of a difference.

I just hope everyone keeps their energy use in mind when planning these trips--there's nothing more unappetizing than a (stinky) large carbon footprint, you know.

dustbunny said...

In Fes, Morrocco I passed a shop specializing in camel meat. There was a camel's head on the counter. Flies everywhere.

surfed said...

Surfers don't need cool food. Just tasty waves - paraphrasing Jeff Spicoli (Fast Times at Ridgemont High). Anywhere there's a nice soft pointbreak and easy access and I'm up for the road. Eating cool food is completely relegated to a lower level. I've done entire dirt bag surf trips on rice, soy sauce and peanut butter sandwiches.

Smilin' Jack said...

Assume you have a medical condition that has destroyed the pleasure of eating food, so that finding new restaurants, sitting around reading menus and choosing things, and putting hours of each day into eating had become a burdensome, boring (not to mention expensive) activity for you....

I don't have a medical condition, and that already sounds like Hell. Some people need to learn that there's more to life than chewing.

FullMoon said...

Well, if I had no sense of smell, and could not "taste" food and was a photography buff , I would go somewhere where I could take pretty pictures. If I were fascinated with wors and writing as well, maybe some with places with historical libraries.

Bay Area Guy said...

Hmm. Tough question.

Without food or restaurants, one would probably have to shift emphasis to outdoor activities - hiking, kayaking, mountain biking, camping, skiing

Maybe, hit the all great National Parks? (yellowstone, yosemite, etc.)

Henry said...

decently reliable, efficiently consumed foodstuffs you keep at home

What I eat at home is generally better than what I can get at a restaurant.

Most of what interests me -- diy, hiking, hanging with my family and friends -- doesn't require much travel.

What about drink?

Quaestor said...

Scotland, land of some of my ancestors. (The rest were Normans, but Normandy has lovely food.) The highlands and the Isles possess some of the most dramatic landscapes in world, but nobody should eat there whether he has an appetite or not.

Grant said...

I'd still want to visit the same types of places I always have, places of natural beauty and cities with good museums and arts performances. In fact I can think of only one place that wouldn't warrant a revisit if food were no longer a factor--New Orleans.

Rusty said...

Why, Althouse?
Does this have something to do with you're inability to smell?

I can tell you where not to go. Stay out of France. Half the pleasure of travelling in France is the food.

lgv said...

Blogger holdfast said...
England. Obviously.

Beat me too it! :)

or Scotland.

Vacation choices have nothing to do with delicious food, while it might exclude places with poor food choices. Lack of taste would actually expand possibilities. Just pack some Soylent.

Granted the appeal of some locations would be greatly diminished, e.g. Italy, but again food isn't the primary factor in destination choice.

rhhardin said...

Dogs do not savour. The finest bit of steak goes down as fast as kibble.

It must be a smell and swallow experience.

rhhardin said...

As for travel, dogs like to watch other dogs.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

sitting around reading menus and choosing things, and putting hours of each day into eating

Seriously Professor, who puts hours of each day into eating when on a trip?

Breakfast is usually at the hotel at a buffet and Lunch is usually grabbed at a cafe or lunch counter and is often a sandwich. Sometimes we linger over coffee at a cafe, but so do the locals. And supper is often purchased at a deli and bakery and taken to our room or spread out in the hotel breakfast area.

Not saying we don't enjoy the occasional leisurely meal out, but we do that at home as well.

I probably spend more time dealing with food at home since I do the cooking and I am pretty good at it.

We spend our time at museums and art galleries and walking around looking at the architecture.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

@Laslo

Iceland, I am looking at you.

I have been to Iceland and the food is excellent. The seafood is fresh, lamb and cattle are grass fed, and fruits and vegetables are grown locally in green houses.

Nobody actually eats the rotted shark they always talk about on TV when discussing Iceland.

Michael said...

I don't plan my travel around food as some do. So with the condition described I would not change anything other than perhaps avoid those cities known for slow languorous lunches and dinners. On the other hand it is pleasant enough to drink water at a cafe in Rome or Paris and watch the world go by.

As to Paris I think the food is vastly over rated. Ditto every other town I have visited in France. Although the Italian restaurants in France are pretty good.

Not being a foodie, though, generally means I would do the same as anyone without tastebuds.

Michael said...

I have gone on trips with foodies and it is not to my taste as it were. Way too much time yakking about the menus, what's next, where next, the fucking wine. Hate traveling with foodies.

Roger Sweeny said...

That describes our trips now. The median food experience is Waffle House.

Next summer I'm excited to see Monument Rocks in Kansas, the Russell Oilpatch Museum, and the Hutchinson Underground Salt Mine.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

The dog doesn't care for brussels sprouts. Probably unrelated to terrorism.

My dogs love them. Do you roast them?

Fred Rawlings said...

Japan. a bowl of rice and an exotic land

Rob said...

If I lost the capacity to appreciate food, I'd travel to Lourdes.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

@Fred Rawlings

Japanese food can be very awful, I did not care for the slimy seaweed or the corn covered pizza, on the other hand, you can go into a grocery store and get a bento box meal that is very good and inexpensive.

Danno said...

Blogger HoodlumDoodlum said...Ooh, ooh, Monroe Wisconsin, where (apparently) all the Limburger cheese produced in America is made!

I stayed in Monroe when my daughter had her UW-Madison graduation since the hotel was half the price and it allowed us to see some of the scenery south of Madison where we had never ventured before. I didn't notice any odors but did see they had a bike trail that goes all the way to Madison. Also, it is only a town or two from New Glarus and this would allow possible tours of the Spotted Cow Brewery for bonus points.

Fabi said...

Heck of an interesting question, as I've been a food tourist on plenty of occasions. I'd likely continue my non-food travels: beaches, golf courses, and the occasional fishing spot.

Char Char Binks said...

Battle Creek, MI.

Rick67 said...

What a remarkable question. Had an accident with head and brain injuries back in September, lost sense of smell (probably blow to olfactory lobe which is behind the frontal lobe, although cranial nerve I might have been cut), my sense of taste is maybe 30-50% of what it used to be. Some food I cannot taste (mild, especially sweet). I can taste spicy and sour. I sometimes put hot sauce on "spicy" food so I can taste it. I live in Louisiana so... yeah.

As someone above noted, that is a tough question. At the risk of violating the specifics of your question, I might continue trying to go places where the food is supposed to be amazing. That 30-50% of awesome might be... somewhat enjoyable. My wife and I each had steak recently (even though it is Lent - people with brain injuries are not supposed to fast from meat, and I can taste a good steak). Might especially go somewhere the food is very spicy - China, Thailand, Vietnam(? not always that spicy), Ethiopia, India. Or the food is sour (= ? where?). I would *not* go to some place like England (lived there 5 years as a teenager). So "bad, bland" becomes "absolutely tasteless, wretched"? My daughter sometimes drags me to a Pakistani restaurant which is pretty good.

Can one surmise you or someone you know is experiencing this problem?

dbp said...

I would probably go backpacking somewhere. One of the drawbacks of backpacking is that since you have to carry everything, you choose food based on weight and compactness, not flavor. With this factor thrown out, the recreation rises relative to other pursuits.

themightypuck said...

I never think about food when I choose a destination (obviously once I'm there I need to eat). I like walking and looking at sights (London, Toyko) or doing stuff like sailing or windsurfing (San Francisco).

dbp said...

If the issue is smell rather than just eating, this too adds to the allure of backpacking. The smell of BO, the slight mildew smell that gets into tents and packs, plus the smell of cooking fuel become ever present--relief from these would be nice.

samanthasmom said...

I spent 10 days in Alaska, and I don't remember what we ate. Food was expensive. That I remember, but other than trying the salmon the day we went fishing, I don't recall anything else.

SayAahh said...

Losing the capacity to appreciate food is liberating.
Losing the capacity to appreciate (or function) in sexual interest is liberating.
In either case the resultant freedom allows for optional multiple foci.

I am not recommending just observing.

dustbunny said...

Paris is totally worth a visit even if you can't enjoy the food, walking the streets is the greatest pleasure and food is often aimed at tourists and often not that great. You can be better off buying a bagette, cheese and olives.

southcentralpa said...

I don't know about travel, but I might consider trying http://www.zupreem.com/products/primate-diet-dry It was so funny after this guy http://www.angryman.ca/monkey.html (IIRC, it was one of the early things that "went viral"), ZuPreem changed the product description from "suitable for all primates" to "suitable for all NON-HUMAN primates". Lost the screenshot a few computer deaths ago, but hand to my heart they did it...

ALP said...

I would travel to seek out modern examples of design, architecture and landscape architecture: Japan, India and Thailand.

wildswan said...

How do you relax and talk without food - well, there are ways. But combine with travel? I think I would do hot tubs, beaches, tubing and sitting around a fire. Water and fire. I would not explore caves or deserts, not if I wanted to enjoy myself and have something to talk about - though curiosity might drive me. Barstow was horrible - I still talk about it round the table. And probably would around a fire, by a pool. That's how you know it's me - she's over there talking about the nothingness on the way to Barstow. Ten minutes left in the monologue on nothingness in California - Los Angeles vs. the road to Barstow.

DrSquid said...

Norway. Go there, try the food. You'll understand why you never see any Norwegian restaurants in the US.

DrSquid said...

On the other hand, their beer is fantastic. Try the Nordlands draft, you'll never touch Miller Lite again

Original Mike said...

I liked the food in Norway. Especially breakfast. Meats, cheeses, seafood, bread. What's not to like?

Darrell said...

North Korea. Don't you know people are starving in North Korea?

Paul Ciotti said...

If you go to France 75% of the restaurants now have le hamburger on the menu. Just order burgers everywhere you go and spend tghe rest of your time enjoying the culture.

RLB_IV said...

I would hike the PCT and eat only to fortify my stamina.

Ann Althouse said...

It's interesting to think of the deficit as an advantage.

You're liberated to go to the places where the food is nothing special. It highlights the other values. You could compare it to looking for a lover when you are blind. You might get a much better lover!

Looking... not the right word, eh?

But you know what I mean.

There's also the dimension of smell (which, as correctly guessed, is my motivation for asking the question). It's a deficit. One reason to go to different places is that photographs and movies of a place don't include smell. Smell is very evocative, mixed with everything else, and multi-sensory experiences have a big impact, especially in memory.

But plenty of places smell bad. If the streets smell like garbage or sewage... not a problem. In fact, I'd love to have a chance to smell something bad. I have some slight sense of smell left, but not enough for anything to register as smelling bad. I would be delighted to encounter something that got through my barriers and registered as bad.

That said, there is a danger: Bad smells warn of things you should not be around. You could get sick from eating or touching things. And the worst danger is fire.

janetrae said...

I am 6 weeks in to recovering from knee replacement surgery and still on painkillers which have also killed my sense of taste and smell (everything smells medicine-y) in addition to prohibiting any drinking. And I just got back from a week-long tax conference in (all places) Las Vegas. I don't gamble and couldn't eat or drink -- so I know one answer isn't Las Vegas. The hotel had "destination" dining experiences (upscale, nice -- and one in particular I have been to before and regard as great restaurant, Michael Mina), but I found all the food bland and tasteless (and canceled the reservation at MM because I got sick from some soup served at a conference lunch). After that, I ended up eating bagels and cream cheese because I could keep it down, and thought it was delicious.

As for where I would go: a staycation to get some work done around the house when spending money to travel and not eat or drink isn't so painful. Up side of all this: I have lost 16 pounds.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Ann Althouse said...You could compare it to looking for a lover when you are blind. You might get a much better lover!

Lov-ahs?

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Ann Althouse said... In fact, I'd love to have a chance to smell something bad. I have some slight sense of smell left, but not enough for anything to register as smelling bad. I would be delighted to encounter something that got through my barriers and registered as bad.

Since your on a university you should see if the organic chem. or medical depts have some Cadaverine you could sample.

Amazon also wants to help: Liquid Ass

You're..welcome?

HoodlumDoodlum said...

*You're!*

Christy said...

Cross country skiing should be good over the next little bit.

So are you saying eating was once the focus of your travels?

Balfegor said...

Even if you can't taste or smell, you can still appreciate textures, so there are surely some pleasures to be had from food. Even without violating the laws of god and man, a lot of Chinese, Korean, and Japanese foods offer differing textures, e.g. the hard crunchy exterior of a tenpura fish contrasted with the softness of its flesh, offset by the crunch of its tiny bones. Or the squirming of the severed tentacle of a squid who has not yet realised he is already dead.

Apart from foods, I would think travelling to places where you can have interesting experiences would still be fun -- whether it's views of a garden, a hike in the mountains, or the blent air of a serious house on serious earth, where all our compulsions meet, are recognised, and robed as destinies. Temples, mountains, shrines, ceremonies, etc. Bazaars and covered markets are fun too.