Monday, April 07, 2014

Dining In or What the Heck to Cook Today?

Hubby is having trouble eating.  Swallowing is always a big problem (old posts about visiting otolaryngologists -- neck surgeons -- and pulmonologists -- lung doctors) for him and seems to be worse after all the health issues of March.  He doesn't know what will taste good and I'm playing a guessing game at every meal because he won't request anything -- he claims he has no idea what might taste good.  He's still recovering from the lack of gall bladder -- meaning things just wiz right through him.  He only seems to enjoy sweets -- bad for diabetes. 

Cooking has become a huge stumbling block in our lives and I'm really frustrated.  He won't drink Ensure -- don't bother suggesting it.  He will eat ice cream but he can't have that at every meal.  Friends took us to Avenues Bistro in Brookside for brunch on Sunday and he happily consumed a pretty good-sized omelet covered in Swiss cheese -- but he tells me he doesn't like Swiss cheese and to NEVER use it at home.  What?  A friend brought him a chocolate cake and he loved that but if I tried to pair it with a cup of homemade chicken soup or a tuna salad, he would only eat the cake.  The other night he actually ate half a raw English cucumber as his meal. 

I'm not a very creative or inventive cook -- I'm more the yeoman type.  I produce sturdy, fairly healthy meals --but they aren't pretty things to admire.  I'm good with Swiss steak, smothered pork chops, meat loaf, baked potatoes, mac and cheese, baked or barbecued chicken.  Basic foods.  I don't bake but I can produce a good cornbread from the mix or open biscuits from the tube.  I have never worked with yeast and I have no idea how bread really rises. 

I make a nice sweet and sour pork casserole served on rice -- he used to love it because it contained pork chops cut in strips.  The last time I served it he only ate the rice covered with the pineapple juice.   He still loves baked beans and hot dogs -- but that plays real havoc with his digestive track at the moment.   He got French fried and a Chicago dog at the movies on Saturday and spent the last 30 minutes of the Grand Budapest Hotel in the bathroom.  His normal stand-by -- spaghetti -- is still a big spicy for the man recovering from gall bladder surgery.  

I wish we could eat out more simply because I wouldn't have to come up with a balanced meal.  But  he doesn't know where he'd like to eat and frankly, we can't afford it -- the doctor bills are rolling in daily. 
So this dry spell in Hubby's eating is very problematic all around.  I have a meat loaf in the oven right now -- and it smells heavenly - but my best guess is that Hubby is going to think it's too dry and will have trouble swallowing it.  And what to pair it with?  He only likes mashed potatoes and gravy.  Can this possibly be a healthy diet?

Finally, I seem to have little motivation to cook.  Having fun in the kitchen kind of goes in spells for me -- I get all motivated and cook up a storm and then I have these down spells where anything beyond scrambled eggs or peanut butter sandwiches is drudgery.   Naturally, my current down spell (probably caused by exhaustion from having spent most of March at the hospital) coincides with Hubby's eating problems. 

Those 350 cookbooks I own are sitting patiently on the shelves, waiting for a "change of weather," a turn around in tummy and swallowing problems, and a spurt of energy / creativity.  When the planets align we will dine again -- meanwhile, we just eat. 


Donna said...

During and after Cliff's bout with gall bladder surgery, NOTHING tasted good to him. He hated Ensure, but when I tried Walmart's brand, he could actually choke that down (it's lots cheaper, too). Once he could eat real food again, we had some left and I passed it on to my cousin's husband, who was dying of cancer. He loved the Walmart brand too, and hated the name brand.

Margaret said...

Would he do fruit/ensure(or whatever) smoothies? They are easy to get down and healthy. There are lots of ingredients that can be used and they are easier to digest. Patt loved them.