Tag Archives: soup

To Tell You the Tooth…

Feeling like one of these little guys right about now.

Apologies, first off, to my readers for my prolonged absence. I could give you a laundry list of reasons why it’s been more than a month since my last blog post: things got busy, work’s been crazy, I’ve had writer’s block, I’ve been too busy watching Mad Men, etc. etc. But truthfully, I just haven’t been that inspired to write about food lately. Maybe I’m taking food for granted, or maybe I’m struggling with balancing my love of food with my ever-expanding waistline. So yeah. There it is.

It’s taken something a bit drastic, however, to get me excited about food again. On Thursday, I had a wisdom tooth pulled.

Having a wisdom tooth is no fun, for obvious reasons (hello, chipmunk cheeks!) but even more so when you’re going to be put under general anesthesia. You can’t eat anything for eight hours before the procedure, and afterward, you’re only supposed to have liquids, then soft foods. Which means you’re most likely doomed to eat nothing but mushy potatoes, smoothies, yogurt, pudding, apple sauce and tomato soups for three or four days straight.

Planning ahead, I made a batch of vichyssoise, a potato-and-leek soup that’s supposed to be served cold, but after a couple of days, I got a little tired of it. My taste buds later turned to thoughts of Chinese food–especially congee, which is the ultimate comfort food–rice porridge with chicken, ginger, scallions. It’s easy to make, but it takes some planning ahead. Also, good luck trying to cook anything while doped up on painkillers. Hot stoves and Vicodin do not mix.

I checked to see whether my favorite Chinese restaurant, Mark’s Duck House, had congee on the menu, but no dice. There was, however, crab meat and fish maw soup, as well as egg drop soup. Bingo.

Crab meat and fish maw soup

Egg drop soup is a pretty common staple on Chinese menus, but crab meat and fish maw soup is something special. It’s made with fresh crab (obviously) and fish “maw,” which is just a nice word for a fish’s swim bladder, the organ that gives fish the ability to control their buoyancy. It’s dried and reconstituted in soups, and has a texture similar to wet pork rinds. YUM! Did I have you at fish bladder and wet pork rinds? Why aren’t you salivating yet?

Ok, so it’s not for everyone, especially those who are picky about textures, but to me, it’s delicious. Fish maw and crab meat soup is a rich, thick, hearty dish, perfect with a dash of white pepper and Chinese vinegar. It reminds me of shark fin soup, only without the unnecessary bloodshed and animal cruelty. Poor sharkies.

What makes this soup, and egg flower soup, for that matter, great for a post-wisdom tooth extraction diet is that it’s chock full of protein and won’t leave your stomach grumbling in an hour, like mashed potatoes or tomato soup would. Also, I can’t seem to get enough of either soup. Can’t say the same for mashed potatoes or vichyssoise, for that matter.

If you ever find yourself in a Hong Kong-style Chinese restaurant and happen to see crab and fish maw soup on the menu, give it a try, what the heck. And if you’re already a fan and would like to try DIY-ing this fabulous soup at home, try this recipe over at The Unoriginal Chef and let me know how it turns out.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to fix myself a bowl of fish maw and crab soup, wash up, put a heating pad on my puffed out cheek, and think about what I want to eat–and blog about–tomorrow.


Filed under Food, Random musings

Brace Yourself

Holy crap, it’s been almost a year since my last post! Sorry to leave everyone hanging. I suppose I got lazy/busy/writer’s blocked, but still. No excuses.

It’s now nearly Thanksgiving, and Christmas is just around the corner. I have to say, 2010 is shaping up to be a pretty significant year in the life of yours truly. First, I got engaged (yay!), then I went to the Faroe Islands, in between Denmark and Iceland, for a fashion shoot (woot!), turned 30 (whoa!) and, most recently, got braces (what??).

Since that’s a lot of backstory to cover, I’ll just start with the hot-off-the-presses news: the  braces. As my friends and family can tell you, I’d been waffling over whether to get braces  ever since my pediatric dentist told my parents I needed them (my response was “hell no!” and they didn’t really push it) but could never bring myself to actually go through with it. Ok, so maybe I was just plain chicken, but with various orthodontists giving me lots of different opinions, some of which included doing some major surgery, including breaking my jaw, can you blame me?

Most recently, however, my dentist warned me that because I have a very deep bite, my teeth are badly aligned and already she could see some odd wear-and-tear on some of my molars. She referred me to an orthodontist just down the street from me, who turned out to be AWESOME. Not only did he inspire confidence in me, he also had decent prices and a pretty good prognosis: braces for just over a year.

So, in with the braces, out with my ability to eat everything in sight. It’s now day 3 of my orthodontic odyssey and because my diet is now limited pretty much to just liquids for the next two weeks, it’s really made me think about the act of eating. Just an hour after the braces went on, I attempted to eat some chunky chicken soup for lunch, but could only squish the solid chunks on the roof of my mouth before swallowing. Sure, my stomach felt full, but my mind was saying “WTF is this? You call this eating?”

It was a less-than-satisfying experience, let me tell you.

Braces are like speed bumps to the average chowhound–they’re annoying, they’re ugly, and they can really ruin your sh*t if you’re not careful. On the other hand, they make you slow down and actually appreciate how things taste, mainly because you have no choice.

Right now, I can only eat by pureeing the hell out of solid foods and pouring it down my throat, teaspoonful by excruciating teaspoonful. Which is unfortunate, considering that Thanksgiving is next week and I’ll probably be sitting in the corner, crying into my butternut squash soup while everyone gorges themselves on turkey and all the trimmings (dammit). I wonder how turkey, cranberry sauce, gravy, mashed potatoes and stuffing would taste after a swirl in the blender?

At first, I would each just whatever came to mind and would fill me up–tapioca pudding, cottage cheese, yogurt, hummus, applesauce mashed with ripe bananas, smoothies, mashed potatoes, even tuna salad–but a girl can only take so much of eating to fill herself up instead of actually enjoying what she’s eating.

At least I’m starting to  really appreciate the art of soup. For example, tonight, I made some deleeecious mushroom soup from Anthony Bourdain’s Les Halles cookboook, as well as some potato-leek soup,  both pureed to oblivion thanks to my trusty Cuisinart 2-in-1 blender/processor.

By the time I get these bad boys off my teeth, the Soup Nazi will have nuthin’ on me, for real.

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Filed under Random musings