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Eye On Olympia

When everything’s a rice cake…

If you ever want to know where to eat in south Puget Sound, state Rep. Dennis Flannigan is your guy.
Craving Norwegian crepes, slathered in butter? Try the Sons of Norway lodge in Tacoma. Great burgers? A hamburger stand in remote Elbe. Be it German desserts, malts, or corn cakes, collards and catfish, Flannigan’s got a place.
“I see every meal as an adventure opportunity,’’ the Tacoma Democrat said Monday.
Those opportunities are about to dry up. If all goes as planned, Flannigan will go to the doctor Feb. 9 for the first of five weeks of radiation to treat a cancerous lump in his cheek.
The radiation is expected to kill the lymphoma and his salivary glands. It’s also quite likely, other patients have told Flannigan, that he’ll lose his ability to taste.
“In a short period of time, things will taste like cardboard,’’ he said.
So he’s giving his sense of taste a workout in what could be its final week: a comfort-food pot roast, Thai food in Federal Way, Italian food in Tacoma, and two-buck-a-slice pizza at Olympia’s Old School Pizzeria.
His final great meal, he said, will probably be a variation on Thanksgiving: turkey, mashed potatoes, peas, carrots, and roasted corn on the cob.
“That’ll probably be the one I go out on,’’ he said.
Flannigan, who beat an initial round of the same cancer 15 years ago, isn’t the sort to waste time brooding over the loss of his sense of taste, if in fact he does lose it. He said he’s hoping to lose 30 pounds from lack of interest in eating, which would put him at 170 pounds.
“I like the adventure of it, too,’’ he said. “What do I do when food’s just a meal, just fuel? What do I savor?’’
He jokes that he’ll have to come up with something else to talk about at parties.
“I may have to have substance to talk about,’’ he chuckled.

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Richard Roesler covers Washington state news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Olympia.

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