When Emily told me her sense of smell vanished at the age of seven, I didn’t believe her. I’ve cooked for my friend on several occasions, and she always eats with gusto. She likes wine, too, and can tell a good cocktail from a bad one. But when her olfactory functions skipped town, they took with them her brain’s ability to recognize flavor (though she can distinguish salty, sweet, sour and bitter, thanks to her taste buds). How can one enjoy roasted garlic so much—or a glass of Pinot Noir—if it’s nothing to them but mush and wetness? Still, Emily swore her anosmia is the genuine article, that she’s not fully sentient, that one day her nose fell asleep and never woke up. But I still didn’t believe her. It’s like having a blind friend who declares his love for Byzantine art.