HOME > Chowhound > Not About Food >


tips for fixing broken tastebuds caused by a broken heart?

I became passionate about food and cooking with my husband. Now that we have ended, I'm not inspired to cook, and not even inspired to taste. this is the most annoying side effect of my broken heart.
I know in time, I will heal, but it's kind of a catch 22: enjoying food will make me feel better, thus enjoying food more, which will be something to focus my attention on, and the healthy cycle continues...if only I can get it started.

Anyone have ideas on how I could start enjoying food again?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Is there a food or restaurant you always wanted to try, but didn't while you were married? If so, that's where I would start. Make a fresh, new food memory.

    1. Italian food, ice cream, and lots of wine....you'll be right as rain in no time.

      1. Give it time, stay hydrated. Find out what YOU want.

        1. Well, I don't know how recent this breakup has been, but give yourself some time. I don't see any point in trying to rush this, as I don't think you can "force" enjoyment of anything -- it has to come natural.

          If your mind is occupied with sad things it might be hard to focus on tastiness. That said -- how about making your personal favorite dish? Maybe it's even something your ex actively disliked which is why you couldn't or didn't make it as frequently as you would have liked to?

          Try making something you truly love to eat (or go out and get it somewhere), maybe that'll kick-start your taste buds again.

          But I don't think you can rush it.

          5 Replies
          1. re: linguafood

            I was actually a little touched by this post, because of the love of food and the power it holds. My mother (I know everyone says this) was hands down the best cook I ever saw. Friends of mine would laugh that I was having leg of lamb for the second time in a month or Paella on a weeknight, because my mother didn't have to work that day. She was constantly making gourmet quality meals nearly every day of the week. It soured me on restaurants and when she passed, it soured me on a lot of foods other than those that were standbys.

            As time has passed this hasn't changed much, but I recently had a relationship that, while short lived, had a food connection. Chinese Wednesdays became a little tradition and while the relationship ended quickly, I have maintained the ritual. Here's my spin on it and why it works. It reminds me of a happier time. It also is part of the healing process and the comical yest best part...I order the same amount of food and I don't have to share. Who says gluttony is bad?

            1. re: jhopp217

              Thank you to everyone who has responded.
              And thank you for reminding me that this takes time! I just want to be good to myself and am getting frustrated at my slowness (because I could've had 15 potential meals by now, plus snacks, and nothing has been interesting.) Thanks, rockandroller, for reminding me that I can just accept that for now, food doesn't have to be enjoyable.

              Thanks jhopp for sharing how keeping some shared traditions may not be such a bad thing, everyone's different I guess. We didn't have any sort of routine whatsoever.

              The most revelational tip was the one to try out new recipes. I had never used a recipe in my life, even though I have tons of cook books! they are mostly there for inspiration. I did start to flip through a book a couple of days ago, things that used to make my heart beat faster didn't inspire me at all this time, so I closed it. Funny as it sounds, it NEVER occurred to me to use a book the way it was meant to be used--follow a recipe, duh! I'll pick a simple one first!

              1. re: kerosundae

                For fun, look through a cookbook like Bourdain's Les Halles one. His side commentary makes it really funny and worth reading. Or any jamie oliver cookbook. He is always so damned excited about whatever he's doing that it's inspiring. I really like Jamie's Italy, it's one of my fave cookbooks.

                1. re: rockandroller1

                  Jamie's Italy is a good read...seriously, it's more fun to read it than to use it as a cookbook

              2. re: jhopp217

                try attending a few church suppers or fire house suppers... sometimes these are not necessarily chow-worthy but they may provide the camaraderie at table that is so missing when we're eating alone! You may even develop a friend or two with whom to go to other events (either gender). God's blessings to you in your healing!

            2. I'm sorry about your broken heart, and I think it's brave of you to ask for ideas here.
              It sounds to me like at least part of what you miss is the shared experience of cooking and eating. When you are ready to cook, why not get some friends into your kitchen to make dinner together. You can try completely new dishes that you don't associate with your ex. If your friends don't like to cook, think about joining in here on the Cookbook of the Month or the What's for Dinner Threads. The COTM might be particularly useful, as we all cook out of the same book together, so you always find fun dishes beyond your zone of familiarity. I'm sure once you can take some enjoyment in cooking along with others, your taste buds will bloom again. Good luck!

              1. I agree with the others that you can't force it and it will take time, as after any major and unpleasant life change. For example, food that people bring over after someone has passed away mainly is eaten as sustence to feed a hungry belly, not with a lot of joy over how fancy or tasty the meal is. Don't expect too much out of yourself and let your curiosity be your guide. It will come back in time.

                You might want to leaf through some new cookbooks. Those always inspire me and give me ideas to try new things, but you need to have some people to cook for, or plans to put things up for frozen to enjoy later, or else it may seem solitary and lonely. As others have suggested, maybe have a couple of friends over here and there. Venture out to the restaurants you liked more, or wanted to try but he didn't.

                1. This may be heretical to post on Chowhound, but if I were in your shoes, I might think of it as a blessing. I love to cook and love to eat. Unfortunately, those passions also consign me to a never ending battle with weight. There are times when I wished I merely ate to live, rather than living to eat. I'm sure I'd be healthier.

                  If my love/hate bond with food were to be broken, I would search for something else to replace it in my life that would be of long-term benefit.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: ricepad

                    I probably risk getting cakes chucked at me for this, but I have the opposite problem with weight! When I'm fine I'm always trying to put on weight, and when I'm stressed out I lose weight. I really don't want to lose weight right now because I worked so hard to get it to where I felt good!

                    1. re: kerosundae

                      In that case, look at food purely as fuel/medicine. Meet your body's basic requirements in whatever way is the easiest for you, and remember that looking after your body is part of being good to yourself (and you need to do that right now.) Many of us could easily stand to lose a few pounds... but it sounds like you aren't in that position. It won't last forever...

                  2. and seriously, hydrate. You are going through a grief process, and grief can really sap your body in a physiological way.
                    The heartache takes time, but will heal.
                    You will enjoy food again.
                    In the meantime, drink a big glass of water.

                    2 Replies
                      1. re: kerosundae

                        I have a firm belief in the restorative power of the potato, prepared any way, with a lot of butter. And seriously: hydrate yourself well. Make sure you have a little something in your tummy at all times; even if it's bland, or your body won't be able to help nourish your mind. Hearts to you, dear. You will mend. Create your own sacred kitchen-space and make only those things that sound like you'd enjoy them, and try not to wrap too much around the memories. Best. : )

                    1. And remember to feng shui your cupcakes.

                      1. I went through a very bad time with my husband this year, although it was sickness and not a breakup, and lost my appetite for quite awhile. At first, if I ate more than a few bites of anything, I would feel nauseous, but after a few weeks, if someone took me out to grab a bite to get me out of the hospital, I'd find myself enjoying it . I remember the day I grilled a veal chop and made some simple pasta on the side, and bragged about it on Facebook; this was after a couple of months. Once he came home, nothing tasted right to him, probably due to the medication, so I wasn't all that inspired and was really lacksadaisical all summer. He had developed a fondness for fast food and orange soda, which weirded me out, but I indulged him. Finally this fall, six months after the fact, I am starting to cook all the time again, and even experimenting with new things like pie crust. This isn't something I planned or forced, it just happened in its own time. I guess winter approaching put me in the mood. But I don't think there is anything you can do to hurry it up.

                        I didn't think I would ever cook regularly again, and it took longer than I ever would have thought but it came back., like the swallows to Capistrano. Do you just want to enjoy food, or is it the cooking itself that you miss? Because take out is a good place to start. It sounds like you have only been apart for a week or less? Things will get better, they always do, unless you obsess about it too much.

                          1. Chocolate is traditional.

                            Seriously: just be nice to yourself. And consciously look for opportunities to eat with other people, thereby making new happy food associations.

                            1. My heart goes out to you, having been in that place before. I began to heal my tastebuds by eating all the things that my ex hated/banned/disparaged. Just a little at a time, not all at once. I had forgotten just how good chicken livers tasted.....

                              1 Reply
                              1. An old thread I stumbled upon, but I would start with chocolate--the perfect food for a broken heart! Chocolate pudding is perfect comfort food. It's been a little over a year ... hope you're feeling much better now :)

                                1. Move away, for awhile, from exploring.

                                  Go for comfort food, in comfortable company, and dwell on comfortable conversation rather than talking about the breakup.

                                  1. Recently I read a quote that said something like "It's not your heart that someone broke, it's the dream they destroyed". I'm with the poster who suggested you go out to some church diners and or other social events with a friend. Not necessarily for any religious reasons, just to socialize. To be with gentle happy relaxed non judgmental people. There's a wonderful Ukrainian church in Victoria that has regular weekend 'church basement' dinners. Something like that.
                                    My mother (a Mennonite) who has long since passed away had a saying for whenever someone was having troubles: "Keep your pecker up !"

                                    1. My heart goes out to you, I have been there too. The times I'd be in the mood to cook I'd bring in some of the food to share with coworkers. They were very appreciative and complimentary which really gave me a boost.

                                      I kept things on hand to make small meals. Brie, fruit, good bread and wine was my dinner at times. From there I started to get creative. I also made a lot of soup. Last but not least breakfast for dinner was always good. I think I became a batter blaster addict in the summer because I could have instant pancakes and fruit.

                                      Also, talk to your doctor about your loss of appetite, they may offer some guidance.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. Just drink. It works even if your heart isn't broken. Otherwise, eat pizza. And make pizza. It takes time, and there are innumerable things you can do with pizza or flatbread.

                                        1. Been there..done that, it's hard but will get better. I had no desire to cook or to eat much for that matter. The divorce diet..a hell of a way to lose 30lbs.

                                          Give it time and chalk it up to one of life's many tough learning experiences.It will get better..I promise!

                                          Maybe some old family recipes that remind you of happier times...or some dishes from a cookbook that you have wanted.How about a little road trip to a retaurant or cafe you have always wanted to try?

                                          (I did not notice the date either..hope all is well!)

                                          1. This sounds very familiar to something that happened in my life. As a child my father and I played golf a few times a week. I took golf lessons and became a fairly decent amateur player. This continued through most of my adult life we still played weekly and I played for social/business reasons. Then about 10 years ago my father's arthritis got to a point he could no longer hold the club and eventually he stopped playing. I continued to play for business/social events but over the next two years something that I had done my whole life was no longer important to me and I put the clubs down completely and haven't played since.

                                            It seems the 30 years of golf which I enjoyed was really just tied to the bond with my father and without him capable of playing anymore my interest in the sport waned and I eventually just gave it up. Perhaps your love of food was tied more closely to the love of your husband and the love of sharing that common bond with him. Perhaps.........you will not recapture what you remember because it was based on that relationship. As you said healing is a process and eventually once you come out the other side of it either your love of food will be there or not. I wouldn't concentrate so much on when it's going to come back but perhaps on finding some new things as well. Find other interests you have that will be just your own.....regardless of who you share them with in the future. If you can find something else to occupy your time and interests it will help keep you from concentrating so much on what you might have lost. I hope you do find your love of food again but in the mean time work on developing other passions and loves. One great thing about the human spirit......we have an infinite amount of love to share.

                                            Good luck and God bless.

                                            1. I don't have much to add, but to say that I am sorry you have a broken heart. I have been there. Pancakes, scrambled eggs, easy pasta,toasted bagels with butter, ramen....bland comfort foods. It is okay to indulge in that sort of ease and warmth for a while....then one day your taste buds will just start screaming for more excitement and then you will know your heart is mending too.