Yesterday, I suddenly developed a nasty bitter taste in the back of my mouth. Metallic, too. Very unpleasant. Anything that I eat or drink tastes revolting.
Now, I'm not one to panic, but I knew something was up. In an uncharacteristic Woody Allen moment, I typed "nasty bitter taste at the back of the mouth" into my computer.
And guess what came up? Pages and pages of internet forum posts from people suffering exactly the same symptoms. A whole sub-culture of poisoned bitter-taste-in-the-mouth sufferers. It's caused by pine nuts. From China. The taste develops about two to three days after you've eaten these nuts, and can last anything from a few days to several weeks.
The phenomenon was first identified in a paper written for the European Journal of Emergency Medicine in 2001. It's all to do with something called triglycerids, and is caused, I think, by oxidisation. In other words, China may be selling rancid pine nuts to the West. Makes you think, doesn't it?