After getting back late last night from a fabulous puréed food dinner party, I thought my blog would be better composed first thing this morning, so here it is…
Yesterday started off fairly well. Whilst it would be easy to cop out this week and turn it into a smoothie extravaganza, I’m determined to keep it as realistic as possible and actually create balanced, nutritious meals…in a less appetising form. So, I started the day by soaking my usual All Bran in water, then blended it with a topping of blueberries, strawberries and seeds. All Bran doesn’t look very enticing on the best of days, but believe me, there are many a comparison that can be made when soaked, and they ain’t pleasant ones. But once blended, I had a reasonably palatable breakfast smoothie. During breakfast (which lasted all of 2 mins), I was trying to really get into the mindset of a Stroke victim. Okay, I had created a pretty decent breakfast, but I had created it, and I was feeding myself. Would I be so eager to comply if someone had presented this purple-ish sludge of unknown content to me on a spoon? Definitely not.
Lunch was a far more stomach churning affair. Fitting with Venetia’s comments about the difficulties of planning meals when on a modified diet, I had to plan well in advance as I start work at 1.30pm, and unless I wanted to eat lunch at 11.30am, I’d have to take it with me. So, I weighed up my options. I could treat myself to lunch out and get some soup, but that’s not a sustainable option, as I can’t justify soup out everyday, nor is it likely that every stroke victim could afford, or would want soup for lunch everyday. I could create a lunch smoothie, filled with sweet fruits and some yogurt, something that most people would agree is a treat, and certainly not something most would turn their noses up at, but something that is far from a substitute for lunch, and wouldn’t see me through 5 minutes, let alone until dinner time. So I settled for my third option, creating a puréed selection of foods that is representative of a typical Lucy-lunch (for those that don’t know me, a Lucy-lunch is usually a crunchy concoction, consisting of a wild array of raw vegetables, and usually with some nuts or humous on the side). So, carrots, asparagus, lettuce and pepper were puréed, with the addition of some more satiating hemp, flax and sunflower seeds. This was put in a handy container ready for lunch, 4 hours later. Did it look appetising freshly blended? No. Did it look appetising 4 hours later, slightly warm and with some separation thrown in? No. It was hard to get down, and I wasn’t disappointed when a less than polite waitress came out from the pub whose table I was, er, borrowing for lunch outside, came out to tell me to to kindly move along. I then had a yogurt to finish off the “meal”, but despite feeling full, I felt far from satiated.
The evening was much more successful. After the journey from hell I arrived royally late to our dinner party, where I met with the others to discuss their experiences so far. It was great to hear about how the others were overcoming some difficulties (ready-made baby food had been trialled by some) and to put together an array of puréed dishes. My contribution was the pasta arrabiata. Whilst making and eating this I discovered many things. Firstly, pasta in a puréed form adopts a highly gelatinous, stick-to-the-roof-of-your-mouth-not-in-a-nice-peanut-butter-way consistency, and in no way, shape, or form, presents as the comforting carb-fest that we all know and love. Secondly, pinkish, sticky food dolloped on your plate, no matter how hungry you are, leaves much to be desired for the eye. Having said that, when combined with delicious buttery mash, and refreshing minty mushy peas, this was a successfully palatable meal. The third thing I learned was a positive – I have one MEAN blender on my hands! I’m not entirely sure whether I’ll be utilising my leftover pasta for lunch today though. One mustn’t forget the triumph that was Fiona’s gazpacho to start – absolutely delicious and so fitting for this muggy weather. To finish we had a deliciously decadent chocolate mousse made by Venetia, and washed down with some acidic thickened wine, we left feeling satisfied and triumphant.
When climbing into bed last night, I was in full reflection mode and couldn’t help but feel a pang of guilt. Whilst I was basking in enjoyment at having a fun evening with some great fellow speechies, and having successfully completed a day of purely mushy food, I felt like I was missing the point a little. Those who have a stroke, head and neck cancer, or any of the many difficulties that impact on the swallow, often don’t have the ability to experiment with different foods. They often don’t have the ability to prepare their own meals, they may not have any choice in what they get to eat, and often, sadly, their ability to communicate is also impacted on, meaning that social events like dinner parties are not a feature of every person’s calendar. Their autonomy has been degraded massively, and one of the most basic sources of enjoyment, food, has pretty much been robbed (would you call pulverised mush food?).
Anyway, I’m still optimistic about the rest of the week and all the puréed fun that it may (or may not) bring, so I will keep you posted on my reflections of the week.
Love and pulverised pulp,