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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

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Study: Over 99% of hospitalized COVID-19 patients were not vaccinated

Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The Cleveland Clinic on Tuesday released a study showing that 99.75% of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 between Jan. 1 and April 13 were not fully vaccinated, according to data provided to Axios.

Why it matters: Real-world evidence continues to show coronavirus vaccines are effective at keeping people from dying and out of hospitals. The Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines have been found to be 95% and 94% effective, respectively, at preventing symptomatic infections.

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Biden reaches agreements with Uber and Lyft to give free rides to vaccine sites

The Biden administration has reached agreements with ride-sharing companies Uber and Lyft to offer free rides to coronavirus vaccination sites through July 4, the White House announced Tuesday.

Why it matters: The free rides, starting in the next two weeks, are part of the Biden administration's push to administer at least one vaccine dose to 70% of U.S. adults by Independence Day.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
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Biden officials green-light nation's first big offshore wind project

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo by Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

The Biden administration today gave final approval to Vineyard Wind, a project off the Massachusetts coast slated to be the country's first large-scale offshore wind farm.

Why it matters: While the green light for the long-proposed project was expected, it marks a key step in White House plans to help spur development of a suite of coastal projects off New York, New Jersey and other states.