20080914_oldcooking.jpgWhen you get older a lot of things change -- where you live, what you do and of course what you eat. It's natural that as a foodie you might worry that old age means the end of good eating, but as Slate reports, that isn't necessarily the case. Here's what you can actually expect:

The Bad News

You will eat less. As your energy needs decrease, your appetite usually goes with them.

The delicious aromas of baking bread, frying bacon and even stinky cheeses may not hold the allure they once did. Most older people go through a major deterioration in their sense of smell, which is a key part of flavor.

Say goodbye to salt. With more than half of the population over 65 dealing with hypertension, most doctors recommend cutting back on the white stuff.

The good news, after the jump.

You'll have more time to cook, but arthritis and loss of vision will make it more difficult. The good news is that supermarkets now make it easy for anyone to look like a star chef, just ask Jacques Pepin. Pepin, now 72, tells Slate that these days the supermarket is his prep cook: "You take a boneless and skinless breast of chicken at the supermarket in a nonstick pan, and you add some prewashed spinach and some sliced mushrooms, and within five minutes you have a dish, and that's cooking from scratch." (Check out his new book and TV series, More Fast Food My Way, for more tips.)

The Good News

Eating less means small plates or tapas will be perfect for you. As octogenarian and food historian Betty Fussell, tells Slate: "Desire remains the same, but it focuses on intensity rather than quantity."

Your future isn't necessarily full of jello and mashed potatoes. The number of people over 60 who face tooth loss has dropped dramatically, to just a quarter of the population. Even if you do end up with dentures, soft food is hot right now, think braised and slow roasted goodness.

Your sweet tooth will get even sweeter. As your sense of taste changes, people generally gravitate toward the taste they respond to the most, and for many people that's sweetness. Bring on the cakes and candy.

You could eat more. If you've gotten good at snacking, don't expect to lose that talent. You may need less calories, but that doesn't necessarily mean you will want less.

If you've always been an adventurous eater, you will probably continue to be. Sure you'll have to make some changes, but you know what they say: "Once a foodie, always a foodie."


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