Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Culinary Therapy

It surprises me where one can find a sense of comfort.

Be it an activity, indulgence, or whatever.

I don't think I realized until now just how much I enjoy cooking.

Ok, maybe NOT everyday, but I do indeed enjoy it.

The only problem was recently I was not able to spend any real time in the kitchen.

The reason for this was the recovery from surgery on my chin. The first few weeks were the worst as it hurt to move my jaw at all. Nothing too painful mind you but it certainly wasn't any fun.

After that it really boiled down to the muscles were just sore and stiff when operating them. They still are, however they are far better today then a few weeks ago. What would happen is my jaw would just get tired from being told to open and close not to mention the additional pressure of being forced closed through some type of edible entity.

Put it this way imagine your jaw aching after you have been chewing gum too long. Now place that right up front and under your chin. Multiply and that is what it feels like.

The last few weeks have been a careful balancing act of eating more things but making sure not to overdo it. Which could happen easily with certain items.

As I mentioned though it has all gotten slowly better. You can imagine my excitement when I graduated from soups, smoothies, eggs, yogurt, and Jello, and moved onto things like Chili, Noodled dishes and the like.

My first Thai noodle dish in almost two months was like the best meal EVER!!

Which prompt a cold cut pita sandwich and eventually french fries!!


I know right!!! I said the FF words!! Shhhh, don't tell anyone.

I was in nom heaven!

All of this was been carefully monitored and if at anytime I felt that eating something was stressing things out too much I stopped and moved onto something else if I was still hungry.

The down side to all this was with such a limited menu I wasn't doing a lot of cooking.

You wouldn't think this would matter, honestly I didn't either. Though I was growing quite tired of the bland repetitive menu.

So you can imagine my glee when I finally pulled out the dutch oven and promptly set about to braising a wonderful pork shoulder this last weekend. Mostly because I was looking forward to eating something real for a change. Besides I knew I could handle eating it because after three hours in the oven it comes out so moist and tender. I even whipped up a side of garlic and white cheddar mashed potatoes.

[Editor's note: The liquid diet had a serious impact to my weight not only did I loose the ten pounds I had gained from stopping hormones prior to surgery but lost an additional eight. Which is way too thin for me. Grabbing any extra calories I can get right now is a good thing.]

The totally unexpected part of all this was the calming affect being in the kitchen had. With all the craziness in my head lately it allowed me to let go a bit and just do something that felt...well,for lack of a better term...normal.

Fussing with ingredients, cooking them, tasting, adjusting.

It is amazing the sense of peace being in the kitchen brought to me. Not to mention how yummy everything was later.

[Editors note: Many people who have eaten my cooking usually ask my why I don't do it for a living. Having had worked as a short order cook, and seen the restaurant industry first hand. No thank you, I would loose all the joy I receive in the kitchen.]

Crazy how something like this can allow me to find my center again and help the process of returning things to normal.


Sarah Sterling said...

you are making me hungry! lol

I am glad that you are able to get back to semblance of normal.

I had to go through the same thing when I was younger when my jaw was broken and the first meal I had was krystal's. I mean those tiny burgers were like heaven after being stuck on eating milkshakes and soups through a straw because my jaw was wired shut.

After reading your blog I might need some recipes lol.

Good to see you posting again.


Stace said...

Cooking for pleasure, and cooking because you have to are too totally different things I think - I can see why you would not want to do it for a living.

I love cooking, but really prefer doing it at the weekend when you can take your time, plan what you are going to do and experiment a little.

During the week it's more: Back into the house after 12 hours away, cook some (fresh!) veggies, cook something starchy (potatoes / pasta / rice / Tortilla Wraps) and stir in some fresh meat. We don't do frozen / ready meals, but we are not adventurous when all you want to do is collapse after the day in the office and sleep!

Sounds like you are on the mend at last, great to hear!


Kelli Bennett said...

Stace, I have some tricks for the week as I have the same issue. I have learned to make use of leftovers, I am discovering more crockpot(or slow cooker) recipes. Which allow me to place everything in the pot and let it cook on low all day. Easy to finish up when I get home.

Also I do things such as when I make a big pot of fresh tomato sauce I assemble two to three lasagnas that I can freeze for later. I also get about eight or nine, 2 cup servings of sauce left that I also freeze for a quick meal.

If I make it I'll freeze it, but just like you I will not buy frozen prepared meals.

Lately I have been digging around in my Sandra Lee's semi home made cook book as I like the idea of taking off the self items dressing them up a bit for a easier less time consuming, yet still yummy meal.