Sunday, June 9, 2013

Healing Foods and Retro Cheesecake.

 At the end of May, I had my baby-making equipment forcibly removed for my health-- on Wednesday, May 29-- and didn't get to eat anything but broth & juice until late Friday morning. In fact I went for over 35 hours on nothing but a few ice chips towards the end of that time frame. Though I'd been told the food at Sisters Hospital on Main was good even if you were vegetarian, I didn't feel like sticking around long enough to really find out.

 Instead, since I was doing amazingly well for a person with an auto-immune disease after a major operation, I came home and had half a veggie sub. And my family has been bringing me food ever since-- sprouted quinoa and roasted vegetables with a tub of peach sorbet from my niece, soup and some burgers for the hubby-man from my mom, lasagna and chili and muffins and more from my big sister, pretty and tasty chive heads from my younger sis (and I'm looking forward to her spicy black bean burgers soon).

 I've felt so much better for these meals, made with love and forethought, brought as needed and given with care.  My body began to try to act normally pretty quick under the influence of such good stuff. Every day has brought more movement, less discomfort. And it's healing just to know that I don't have to rely on takeout when I'm too tired to cook, which happens at least every other day. Knowing that the hubby-man has food to get him through the worst of it helps too-- I can take a nap during the day without worrying that he'll starve through his workweek because I was resting like I'm supposed to. I can shop the fridge instead of making him go shopping when he's had a full day.

 Both family and friends have done other wonderful things for me: brought me books to read and magazines to enjoy, flowers to scent the house. They've run errands and done laundry and  it's overwhelming. I've gotten visits and cards and gifts in the mail, a pedicure while I was in the hospital and a pot of fully mature herbs to use when I feel up to cooking. All of this, bolstered by the food, had made a giant difference. You wouldn't believe how short a time it's been since the surgery, if you saw me walking around doing dishes today. That's how lucky I am in my choice of surgeons and my bounty of loved ones. That's how powerful a gift of healthful food can be.

 I felt so well and good yesterday, I cooked a whole meal-- sloppy lentils (okay, they're super easy), veg in sauce, baked potatoes and a retro cheesecake, the soft creamy kind I never had in childhood. This is the kind that starts with a can of sweetened condensed milk, an item rarely found in my kitchen; but I remembered having bought one some time back as I was leafing through a recently acquired dessert cookbook, and there was a recipe for that creamy, fluffy unbaked cheesecake, topped with cherry pie filling. For once, it sounded good. Maybe that's a natural side effect of reading four dessert cookbooks in a row.

 It was not a success but not a total failure. Being so easy, you'd wonder how it could get screwed up, and I'll tell you: I used a food processor to mix the whole thing, instead of a mixer as specified. Even using less liquid and more chill time, I ended up with more a cheesecake-flavored spoon pudding than a cheesecake. The upside is, it tastes good, and I've found out now that the Baker's Corner cherry pie filling, sold at Aldi's, is the best canned filling ever. Not too sweet, it seems to be made from sour cherries and has a deep, tart fruity flavor. Worth the cost of the cheesecake experiment for sure! Though I'm putting the failure all on myself and my use of modern methods, the cookbook/recipe was so old I can't be certain that the relative leanness of our contemporary dairy products isn't partly to blame, so I won't share this recipe until I've tried it again as written and had more success.

 Not to be satisfied with a pudding, I've stuck the bulk of the cheesecake mess in the freezer, and we'll see if we get a cheesecake-y frozen dessert** for the effort.

 Because sometimes sweets are healing, too.

Thanks to all my family, here and in Indiana, and my friends all over the world, for your gifts, help, and kind thoughts-- it's working!


  Have a delicious week. Peace,

                                           --Mari



**Yes, we did. Freezing this baby made it so good, I might do that every time.

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