The title of this post sounds silly, I know. But just read on and I promise it will all make sense. About a week ago, I had gum surgery. It was a bit of a surprise – I knew I was going to have this surgery eventually, but between the power of genetics and my upcoming travels abroad, the decision was made that I had to have it done as soon as I could. My mother, aunt, and grandmother have all had this surgery, I had heard about the painful recovery, and I was dreading it. Luckily for me, there has been almost no pain – just discomfort. The true challenge has come in the form of my liquid/soft food diet. I don’t think that most people would be so devastated by the requirement of a soft food diet. And I shouldn’t have been, really. Except that 1) the texture of food is, to me, incredibly important and 2) eating the same thing over and over again bores me to death. I hate it. A couple days ago I found myself having refried beans with ripe avocado for the fourth day in a row and, I’m not kidding, I cried. But there have been glimmers of greatness, like the jamaica my roommate Carmelle made and the heavenly gelato at Pinolo Gelato.
I’ve been thinking a lot about why I find this diet so hard, and I think I’ve figured it out. I’ve written here before about how I believe food connects people, how it offers a shared experience. To me, taking friends to my favorite pizza place or inviting people over for a meal that Jonah and I have been prepping for hours is not only fun, but it’s exhilarating and offers a bonding experience unlike anything else. I have found in the past week that I am feeling almost lonely. I can’t cook with friends because I can’t eat what they can – I’d have to bring my own food. When we helped some friends move this weekend and then went to get tacos, I sat there quietly using a chip only as a spoon to scoop tiny bits of guacamole.
I’m whining, I know. But the takeaway here is not to take for granted this opportunity. Yes, as humans we need to eat every day. But eating is also an incredible chance to take pleasure, to go on an adventure, to be comforted, and to connect to loved ones. It’s easy to forget, what with all the 30-minute recipes and the frozen food aisle and the fad diets, that we can and should enjoy this. I hope you get the chance to luxuriate and take pleasure in a good meal with good people this week. I know I will… next week.
In case you have to go on a soft food diet, here’s what I’ve been eating:
- Smoothies galore: banana almond and pineapple matcha have become favorites (I don’t use a recipe for pineapple matcha, but it usually looks something like this one but with spinach for the greens and a combination of almond milk and OJ for the liquid, plus I like to keep my banana and pineapple frozen)
- Snap Pea Soup
- Chicken Liver Pâté
- Mashed Potatoes
- Yogurt with rhubarb compote
- Refried Beans
- Avocados with Frank’s Hot Sauce
- Ice cream and gelato
- Scramble eggs
- Tamales (the Mole Rosa from Tamale boy, if you can swing it)