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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Home cooks who can't smell have an influx of new recipes to choose from as COVID-related anosmia spurs innovation in the kitchen.

  • Recipes focus on foods with bright colors, contrasting textures and geometric shapes, drawing on senses besides smell and taste to help anosmics enjoy eating.

Why it matters: For people with smell loss or distorted smell and taste (parosmia) — common COVID-related symptoms — coffee is simply hot water, popcorn is "thorny foam," or food smells like literal garbage.

  • For the most part, there’s no cure.

The big picture: At least one cookbook aimed at those with compromised senses has already come out. Another — a book deal that came together pre-pandemic — is in the works, smell researcher and one of the authors Robert Pellegrino told Axios.

  • To get an idea of the types of dishes that could be in the book, think: hot rice with cold chicken, onigiri, juicy omelettes.
  • "You want it to be arousing," says Pellegrino, a postdoctoral fellow at Monell Chemical Senses Center.

Between the lines: There’s evidence that people desperate to regain the pleasures of eating are already experimenting with these methods.

  • New York Times restaurant critic Tejal Rao, who lost her sense of smell due to COVID-19, wrote for the New York Times Magazine about rediscovering her appetite thanks to mala — a combination of chiles and Sichuan peppercorns that creates a buzzing sensation in the mouth. She published an accompanying recipe for spicy and tingly beef.
  • Others have reported dousing their food in mustard and hot sauce, per Eater.
  • A Dutch cookbook author who's had anosmia nearly her whole life suggested this recipe in CNN last year: a veggie burger heavy on spices and the crunch of peanuts.

The bottom line: "You don’t know how important sense of smell is until you lose it," Pellegrino said. "It completely takes away the pleasure of eating and socializing at the dinner table."

Go deeper

Updated 4 hours ago - Sports

The potential GOAT of chess faces intriguing challenger

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The World Chess Championship between Norway's Magnus Carlsen and Russia's Ian Nepomniachtchi began on Friday, 1,094 days after Carlsen won his fourth consecutive title.

Why it matters: During the long, COVID-fueled layoff, chess entered a new era, and with the championship finally here, the age-old game is ready for its close-up.

Department of Interior proposes raising cost of drilling on public lands

A horizontal drilling rig and a pump jack sit on federal land in Lea County, New Mexico. Photo: Callaghan O'Hare/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Oil and gas companies should pay more to drill on federal lands and waters, the Department of the Interior argued in a report released Friday, saying that the current rates were "outdated."

Driving the news: The Department of Interior report said that the federal government's oil and gas leasing and permitting program "fails to provide a fair return to taxpayers, even before factoring in the resulting climate-related costs that must be borne by taxpayers."

6 hours ago - Health

U.S. to restrict air travel from 8 countries over new COVID variant concerns

A COVID-19 vaccine is administered. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The U.S. will impose new air travel restrictions in response to the Omicron variant, a new COVID strain first detected in South Africa, President Biden announced Friday.

The big picture: Air travel from South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Malawi will be restricted starting on Monday.