Kitchen Reader Book Club: March Review – Season to Taste

Season to Taste: How I Lost My Sense of Smell and Found My Way by Molly Birnbaum
Suggested By: Katherine Martinelli

A very honest, open and informative insight into Moly Birnbaum’s very traumatic loss of smell due to a car accident and how her life progressed afterwards. I found it light-hearted  yet poignant, engaging and in an odd sort of way therapeutic for me anyhow as I’ve been ill for a while myself.

Molly Birnhaum had been slaving away as a dishwasher in a restaurant kitchen which was made bearable with morsels of invaluable training from the chef. The harsh experience was necessary to secure a place in the CIA (Culinary Institute of America) course she was participating in shortly. Her sights were set very determinedly to succeed so she endured the arduous workload to achieve success. Her life was mappped out only to be cruelly stopped in it’s tracks with the car accident.

Despite the trauma, pain, loss of immobility and dependence on her family and friends her biggest concern was her lost of smell. Who’d blame her? I thought back on the worst cold or flu I’ve had and the stuffy nose but I doubt it’d even compare, besides we know that’ll subside once the cold or flu has passed. Whilst laid up she had to learn to step back from life and live in a surreal ‘world of home’ (interspersed with the odd outing once she was fit enough). I know this feeling you in that surreal world and you catch the odd glimpse of the outside world just keeps on going without you.

On breaking the news the doctor  did so in the oh so familiar flippant manner, I’m sure all of us can relate to it. Don’t expect a comforting bedside manner or advice to help her overcome and deal with the loss of smell. I could feel for her myself as I’ve received news in a similar manner. I wanted to reach into the book and shake him whilst thinking of inventive ways to use his tapping pencil.

Molly Birnbaum ensured this book moved along at an easy pace. I thought the search for solutions which took over the middle section of the book a bit too long. I’d have preferred more on her own personal life. This is more subjective and if you like lots of detail of this particular medical condition then you’re in for a treat.

I enjoyed this book mainly as I admire people who can narrate the loss, agony and survival techniques they employ as a result of a major loss in such a serious yet light-hearted, engaging, fun and yet heartfelt way. I was sad to reach the final page.

Well worth a read.

Points I Took Away:

  1. Family and friends supporting you make a loss much easier to endure
  2. Regardless of the loss we all go through the same feelings, first dealing with the pain, second getting tired of it and wanting to get back to reality, suddenly accepting your fate and then learning to cope and deal with the new reality.
  3. Finding the fun in everything regardless
  4. As the old saying goes “we plan and God laughs”.
  5. Life doesn’t often pan out like you’ve planned, but hopefully the end result is more happy and fulfilling. So when you look back you can smile and just go “phew glad I ended up here”.
  6. Love conquers absences, illnesses and imperfections

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Categories: Kitchen Reader Book Club, Marian's Morsels, Uncategorized


Home cook, Irish food blogger and live a plant-based lifestyle. I also co-own of with my hubs where you'll find online courses, vegan chocolates and lots more to help a transition to a plant-based diet or live with someone who is a carnivore.


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9 Comments on “Kitchen Reader Book Club: March Review – Season to Taste”

  1. Editor
    April 1, 2012 at 9:41 am #

    Great review Marian – love the takeaway part at the end – so true of so many of life’s challenges!

    • April 1, 2012 at 12:46 pm #

      Hi Marie, thanks for your lovely comment. Yep this book was nicely timed for me given the month that was in it. Marian

  2. April 1, 2012 at 2:28 pm #

    I have to be honest… I didn’t make it to the end of this one. And I think that I missed out on the triumphant ending and lessons that you enjoyed. I’m glad you made the connections for me; so many things in life are dependent on our outlook.

    • April 1, 2012 at 3:00 pm #

      Hi Sarah, luckily I had it read by the middle of this month as otherwise I’d have had to skip a great book. Season to Taste certainly got me thinking alright. Great response this month, I must have a look at them all later. In the middle of making cakes!

  3. April 5, 2012 at 5:36 am #

    While I like all of your points, I agree most with your point # 5! (And yes, don’t doctors suck sometimes?)

    I’m a little ADD, so I glossed over the research, but I did find the rest of the book to be enjoyable, and I definitely value my sense of smell now more than I used to.


    • April 5, 2012 at 6:00 am #

      Hi Kim,
      Delighted you made contact it has reminded me to have a look at everyone else’s reviews this month which I had meant to do but got waylaid. Thanks for your comments. Yep No.5 does stick with me too. I’ve been dealing with medical staff for a long time now too and I agree it’s a painstakingly arduous process (and that’s putting it mildly).

      • April 7, 2012 at 12:28 am #

        Ahhh, ditto. I feel like I’m seriously late to the commenting game! Lovely review, and I’m sorry to hear about your stressful month.

      • April 7, 2012 at 5:15 am #

        Hi Anni, you’re like myself! I just got up to look over everyone else reviews too! Ah thanks for your kind thoughts Marian


  1. Season to Taste: March Round-Up | The Kitchen Reader - April 1, 2012

    […] Marian at Spelt for Choice […]

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