The New Yorker has a lengthy and inspiring profile of Grant Achatz, chef at Chicago's Alinea, who's on the comeback after fighting tongue cancer. If you've been following this story, you'll know that Achatz wanted a line of treatment that would preserve his sense of taste. Well, after irradiation of his tongue, he lost that sense, but it's slowly returning.
Because his ability to taste has come back over time, Achatz feels that he is understanding the sense in a new way—the way you would if you could see only in black-and-white and, one by one, colors were restored to you. He says, “When I first tasted a vanilla milkshake"—after the end of his treatment—“it tasted very sweet to me, because there’s no salt, no acid. It just tasted sweet. Now, introduce bitter, so now I’m understanding the relationship between sweet and bitter—how they work together and how they balance. And now, as salt comes back, I understand the relationship among the three components."
Related: Grant Achatz's Cancer in Remission [Diner's Journal]