I think I've been scarred for life. Not physically, but mentally.
I sometimes think back to last year when a rotten, long-lasting cold resulted in me losing my sense of smell and taste and it put me in a kind of mini-panic.
When the cold finally cleared up, I entered a brief honeymoon period where I savoured every flavour I encountered, appreciating the fact that I could indeed, taste food and drink again.
Ooh, it were 'orrible!
The thing is, although I've grown to love and enjoy food, I don't consider myself to have a particularly refined palate. Sure, I know what I like, know what tastes good for myself, but I don't possess the taste buds to pick out a subtle flavour of something in a large dish of something, if you see what I mean.
I only have to watch TV at the moment, with it's plethora of foodie programmes, to have this fact rubbed in my face.
M on the other hand, does have the palate for this task.
So does, it seems, my children; Joseph in particular.
Of course, I love the fact that they have my cooking, which I would class as "typically European" as well as, occasionally, M's mother's cooking, which is typically Middle Eastern.
Thankfully, they love all food but I am also pleased that, in the multi-cultural society in which we live (not to mention the very culturally diverse school which they attend), their understanding of food is not limited to meat and two veg'.
This love of food was borne out in a little game that Annabel told me her and her friends played last week. They were playing the "A .. B .. C .." game of food and each took it in turns to say a food that began with the letter which corresponded to their turn.
Although Annabel only told me her choice of food, I imagined that the game went something like this.
Friend 1 says "A is for apple"
Friend 2 says "B is for banana"
Friend 3 says "C is for cake"
Friend 4 says "D is for dumplings"
Annabel says "E is for eggs"
Friend 1 says "F is for fish"
Friend 2 says "G is for gingerbread"
Friend 3 says "H is for ham"
Friend 4 says "I is for ice cream"
Annabel says "J is for jadara"
(screech of brakes) "An-n-nd STOP!"
(All heads turn to look at Annabel)
Apart from the fact that she has misunderstood the name of the dish, no-one in her little circle of friends would know what she was talking about.
As is often the case, middle eastern dishes (thanks to being written in Arabic), are often open to personal interpretation when it comes to:
a) their spelling and
b) the cooking process.
The "m" at the start of mujadara, whilst not exactly silent, is used more in the "m-m-M-M" sense of the word, as opposed to the "m" used in "mud".
Anyway, poor thing, she went on to explain that no-one knew what she was talking about, even though she clearly explained to them exactly what it was.
This was a brave thing to do, in my book, as their are few things as unattractive to the unfamiliar eye, as a bowl of chilled mujadara.
Puréed lentils, rice and caramelised onion, left to warm up after an afternoon in the fridge doesn't really make for a pretty dish.
This does not, however, stop it form being my favourite meal of all time.
Closely followed by the above 'bachelor-type' meal of kibbeh lahme, mankoushe, olives and a nice strong, Belgium beer.