Smokin! Or Not... - I always wanted to be a gastronomer Blog at - 232648

I always wanted to be a gastronomer

Smokin! Or not... 
Apr. 20, 2011 8:43 am 
Updated: Apr. 29, 2011 8:21 am
If I'd written this blog 4 years and 1 day ago, it would have been about the incredible virtues of having a cigarette after a fine meal. That creamy smoke just capping off the day…er, the moment! Luckily for me, and I'm sure for even some of you, I quit.
I smoked for 29 years. I started out smoking cigarillos then graduated to Export A. By the time I quit I was often going through 3 packages in a day. 75 cigarettes. As I often like to say though, I didn't smoke all of them. I'd have one in the ashtray and be lighting another, one sitting on the table, one in each ear etc..I tried to quit twice in all of those years. The first time I just said that's it and threw them away. I was a shivering nervous wreck by lunch time. People who know me used to say, "Randy you should quit. You're this big foody and you smoke, it doesn't make any sense. You can't taste your food". Of course I'd counter that as non smokers, they couldn't understand the joys of that fine little tobacco capper. The second time I purchased a package of Nicoderm patches and went a whole week before I encountered that unyeilding combination of a pool table, a good friend and beer. Off came the patch, out came the rag.
Then two things happened. The economy took a bit of a downturn and I met my wife. I suddenly had much better things to spend my money on. One night, going to the store for cigarettes I found I was a little short and instead of my customary carton, I bought one package. That one package cost me almost 12$ and this was 2007. I hadn’t bought a single package of cigarettes in years and as I drove away I was aghast at how much it had cost me and I knew, I’d just need another pack in the morning. I did some quick mental calculations…buying cartons, I was spending $8000.00 a year on cigarettes. It was as if a switch finally clicked and in the morning I went to the drugstore and picked up a box of Nicoderm patches. The funny thing is, in that moment when I left the store I knew right then, I was done. I quit. Oh sure, I had a new pack and I was smoking one of them when I decided but at that point it was just the mechanics of quitting left. Mentally I was there.

About 3 months later, I found the damned patch was actually causing the jones and so then, off it came and I was donesville

Now this blog seems like it’s about me quitting smoking, and it is but also; one of the things I was so looking forward to as my time as a non-smoker grew, was the amazing taste sensations I‘d been repeatedly told I was missing. Well, I waited and waited. I discovered that the best cigarette ever was the one right after a good meal but the absence of that cigarette did not markedly improve said meal. I discovered that quit smoking sites are not for everyone. (They vilified smoking. I needed grief counseling, not hate therapy).  The advertised improved sense of taste? Not so much.

Where I did make gains was in my sense of smell. Now we’re talking. It’s kinda gross but the first discovery was that urine has a smell. I’d kind of not noticed that for all my life. Then other things, lots of things, suddenly had new olfactory life. I suppose one could say it made my food better but really, it didn’t taste any better, just smelled better.

The other things, more energy. Nope. Increased stamina. Nope. Clearer lungs, nope. On and on, the only real and immediate long term benefit I realized from quitting smoking was my newly restored sense of smell.

How about you guys? Food and no tobacco, any improvements for you?
Apr. 20, 2011 10:13 am
I just wanted to say GREAT job quitting smoking. I am trying to quit right now I have not smoked in 14 days so it is still just the beginning stages for me so I can't really say that I have noticed anything diffrent. But wanted to say congrats! Any tricks to helping me stay a non-smoker would be greatly appreciated. And again congrats!
Apr. 20, 2011 3:11 pm
I quit after 27 years and understand exactly what your saying. There are studies that show the olfactory senses are directly connected to the taste buds and sense of taste. Like you, I didn't experience the taste improvement so much, but boy, the aromas I'd been missing out on! I now understand the phrase "it smells/tastes as good as it looks!" Congrats on your success, for me it'll be two years in June. I quit as an anniversary present to my husband (and because I saw the x-rays of my lungs, yuck!). Keep up the good work:)
Apr. 20, 2011 5:08 pm
You have (pretty much) echoed my quit. I did get a new sensitivity, though- heavy or overly allied perfumes suddenly gagged me. Congratulations, Randy! You have done well!
Apr. 20, 2011 5:09 pm
"Allied" is supposed to be "applied"
Apr. 21, 2011 8:16 am
Okay, Mike, I feel it necessary to correct myself now:) "your" should have been "you're".
Apr. 22, 2011 11:27 am
My husband has finally quit smoking after smoking since he was 15 years old. He is now 68. On Dec.29, 2010 he went out to take the dog to do her business. When he came back in he was dragging his right foot. He said it was asleep. Truth was he had a blockage in his leg. I got him to the E.R. and by that time his leg was numb up to his knee. They immediately started making preparations to transport him to Baylor hospital in Dallas by care flight. He had emergency surgery that night to restore the circulation to his leg. He was told if he continued to smoke that it would happen again and he would loose his leg above his knee. It could happen again even if he did quit but for sure if he didn't. He has had two by pass heart surgeries, both carotids done and a few other surgeries due to blockages from smoking. He also has a carcinoid tumor on the outside of his colon which is a direct result of smoking.He also has chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and the beginnnings of emphysema. Be thankful you decided to quit before any of this stuff started happening to you. Take a nice vacation on the money you will be saving this year alone.
Apr. 22, 2011 9:27 pm
So sorry to hear that Char, all my best ok.
Apr. 22, 2011 9:32 pm
Hey Ash, sorry, I have no tips. The key for me was wanting to, I had never previously really wanted to. Then I did. Once I had that, it was easy. The patch helped too and like I said some sort of grief counseling would have been helpful, I felt like I killed my best friend.
Apr. 26, 2011 10:28 am
Hi Raedwulf, I just stumbled on a recipe request about the Foodsaver. I just bought one. I love it and knowing that it is paying for itsself- especially with $4/gal of gas era that is now a reality. I am not sure if it is the "big" one you mentioned but I sure hope that it can handle the 11" width bags so I can freeze pies. Also, so glad that you shared you success in quitting smoking. It seems to leave such a void when people stop. I can only say that I once tried smoking a piece of the "stalk-like" grass you find at the beach. I was 14- my dad smoked. There was nothing about it to make me want to do it again! I don't understand the attraction to it- but I could easily have been pulled into it. Nice blog!
Apr. 26, 2011 10:31 am
@asherry: I've heard other success stories. It seems to help if you can substitute something else in place of smoking. I am sure the "substitute" is different for everyone. Just some ideas: physical activity, a new hobby, or a routine outdoor activity. So you replace the routine of smoking with another routine. Please find some support for yourself.
Apr. 29, 2011 8:21 am
Hi Maureen, sheesh, good thing I checked back here lol. Congrats on the Foodsaver. Like I said before, marvelous devices. Now that you have your foodsave, did you happen to see the Foodsaver canisters that they have? lol. The only bad thing I have to say about the silly thing is that it won't break down. I've had mine for 8 years and its a small one. I keep saying when this one breaks, I'm gonna get the larger one and...this one just keeps going. Good on ya for never smoking.
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About Me
Let's see, in keeping it to a subject, at age 22 I had a filet doused in Bernaise sauce aboard a train. That was it, I was hooked on fine food. Living in a small town necessitates learning to cook well to maintain that stellar menu.
My favorite things to cook
Oh man, only a thousand characters? My favorite things to cook are items that make YOU happy. I'll try anything and thus far it would be far easier to list those things I don't like than those I do. So far, I hate Cilantro and I'm allergic to green chiles. It's a short list.
My favorite family cooking traditions
Christmas. I like everything about that meal and every single year I aim to improve.
My cooking triumphs
Every smile, every gasp of delight, every accolade, such sweet victory!
My cooking tragedies
A Cioppino recipe I found here. I served it as part of one of those Christmas dinners and the cod was a poor choice. It was terrible, ghastly fishy taste. I've since learned a thing or two about freshness in fish. Prior to that, hmm perhaps when I was 10, I made a spice cake that called for whole cloves....hey, that's what it said on the outside of the bottle, whole cloves....
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