I have a condition known as hyposmia, or a diminished sense of smell. For instance, I cannot smell flowers unless I am within 1" or so of the centers, but I can smell bacon a mile away (Who can't?), and the perfume counter is a reek of alcohol that is overwhelming.

I also really enjoy cooking, but I am no better than a recipe follower as the sense of smell also affects and diminishes my sense of taste. As a result, any time I deviate or create on my own, the result is usually reported to be heavily under or over seasoned, even though it tastes good to me.

Are there known techniques to compensate for hyposmia and altered taste when cooking? (I read about a known chef who has no sense of taste, but the name escapes me).

  • I could've sworn that we had a similar question once before (although it might've just been about salt), but I haven't had any luck finding it.
    – Joe
    Dec 15, 2017 at 18:00
  • 2
    Is your goal to make something that tastes good to you or to other people?
    – Ross Ridge
    Dec 15, 2017 at 18:29
  • @RossRidge for other people. I have a family of 4, plus have the occasional dinner party.
    – JohnP
    Dec 15, 2017 at 19:32
  • Could you clarify to help us decide whether answers like Max's address your question? I'm concerned that you may get a lot of guesswork and overly generic advice that doesn't help, if we're not specific enough.
    – Cascabel
    Dec 15, 2017 at 21:40
  • 1
    @joe this might be the question you were remembering, cooking.stackexchange.com/q/66720/35357
    – Debbie M.
    Dec 16, 2017 at 15:58

1 Answer 1


I'd say experience will be your best help in the long run.

Use known recipes, quantities and ingredients. Err on the side of blandness; better have people add salt/pepper/hotsauce than spit it out because you over did it.

Try to have someone with you when you try out new recipes or ingredients so they can help you gage the taste and smell so you can adjust the ingredients.

Good luck.

  • This comes close, but it also relies on the taste of another individual, and what happens if that individual is not around at the time I am cooking? I'd like to find a way that I can cook independently, but for the greatest amount of commonality if that makes sense. Obviously there are different tastes among people, but there is a general base of "good".
    – JohnP
    Dec 15, 2017 at 21:46
  • You do not need to have someone with you all the time for simple recipes that you already know; let's say you want to try a new recipe, you call your friend John or Cecilia and say "Hey, can you come around, I'd like to try a new recipe, and I need your help for tasting it for me; I'll serve drinks and make it a party.!"
    – Max
    Dec 16, 2017 at 16:02

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