Friday, August 16, 2013

Mucositis Menu: Two Entrees

Team Miner,

This is old news if you are on the Lotsa site, but Jeff's last hospital admission went pretty well.  He started off with a less than ideal roommate situation, but was ultimately moved into a spacious double room that he got all to himself up until the last 18 or so hours.  We even had a date - which I wrote about before.  

Unfortunately, on the day he was scheduled for discharge, I got sick and spiked a fever.  Before Jeff began enduring chemo, I never knew that fevers were potentially life-threatening for patients who might be neutropenic due to the drugs.  So, we took my illness seriously (for a change, I guess).  By sending a one-shot e-mail out to the Lotsa group, many wonderful friends offered Jeff a place to stay out of our apartment/den of virus and illness.  Thank you so much to all of you.  In the end, Julie and Taylor were out of town and live just a couple of blocks away so, due to their kindness, Jeff was able to crash at their lovely place for two nights.  It was an ideal solution to a less than ideal situation.

While Jeff rested a couple of blocks away, I went medieval, shall we say, on my cold.  As usual, I tanked up on apple cider vinegar.  I drink it diluted in hot water with a little honey.  It's pretty bearable, even remotely tasty that way.  Turns out Bragg markets a beverage to appeal to folks like me (and my sister) who believe in the healing power of ACV.  Quick review:  I've tried it, and it's pretty good.  But I prefer to pocket my cash and make the hot drink at home.  
In addition to trusty ACV, I took some zinc and some vitamin C - both of which I believe did no good because I was already sick when I began taking them.  

And then... I turned to garlic.  Oh, garlic.
I cut cloves in half and sucked on them like disgusting, stinky, and pungent lozenges.  Weirdly, the garlic lozenges instantly made my throat feel better.  They even seemed to make my nose a bit less stuffy.  I actually believe the garlic helped me recover, if only because I was forced to drink more and more water to wash out the taste and attempt to stop reeking so much for my poor mother.  In the end, I rebounded relatively quickly. Now Lydia still has some occasional sniffles, but we are all reunited at last and I am much less smelly.

Now the title promised something recipe-related, so I'll stop droning on about my sinuses and cold remedies.  I have tried the first two recipes in the "Mucositis Menu" contest.  In addition to the entries on Facebook and in comments on the blog, our friend Jesse gave us a cool cancer fighting cookbook in celebration of the great PET scan which will be especially useful for remission and has some tasty looking recipes.  Deb and Mike sent us a cancer cookbook all the way from Minneapolis, which has given me some great ideas and a couple of recipes to try. I'm adding those to the queue.

Since Jeff's mouth is still feeling fine for the time being, I made the Irish Stew with Colcannon (suggested by Jamie) and the Creamy Edamame Risotto (suggested by unknown - please ID yourself!).  Both were delicious and met with rave reviews from me, my mom, and Stella.  I didn't modify the Irish Stew/Colcannon at all.  I used different cheese - we happened to have the yellow Babybels around - for the risotto, but I think it would work well with any creamy, relatively mild cheese.  I also added a little fresh oregano to the risotto, because I had some and felt I should use it up, but the dish didn't need it.

For textural purposes, neither would work great for Jeff when his mouth is at its most painful. But, as Jamie mentioned, the colcannon (i.e. the mashed potatoes) is perfect for Jeff's situation and enriching them with Guinness-based gravy is genius.  Likewise, I could always make the risotto a little more broth-y for Jeff when necessary.  And if anyone wishes to try the risotto recipe, it is absolutely kid friendly.  Stella was still talking about it today at dinner.  It is also adult-friendly:  It calls for less than a full can of beer, which means you get to drink while you cook.  In fact you have to drink.  Otherwise perfectly good beer goes to waste.  To waste!  (I didn't this time around due to my cold, but will gladly take one for the team next time I make it.)

Thanks for these first two submissions friends.  More reviews to come, followed by, I'm thinking a top three "Mucositis Menu" submissions post, and then a reveal of the big winner.


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