By the time I leave America, my palate is always exhausted. Eating in the country, even for a week’s time, brings me right back to my childhood: I re-acquaint with the exact texture of a bit of blackened bacon, pooling in its own dark fat; or the unique mouth-feel of fountain soda in a cup, tinged with the flavors of plastic, wax, and the faint metal of local water. I can summon the slick that the middle of an Oreo leaves behind on my tongue. I have an entire library of articulate memories like these. But somehow, at the same time, I can’t taste anything. When a waiter in a restaurant asks me, “What’s lookin’ good to ya?” I flip through five-page menus and realize I don’t really know.