Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Traditions and tests

Food is emotional. When I am sad I drink hot cocoa. When I am happy I experiment with a new recipe. Cooking can be therapeutic, nurturing, comforting. At this moment I have a loaf of bread baking in the oven. My first loaf of gluten free bread. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. Every year since before I was born my parents have prepared the same traditional dished for the holiday. This is our first gluten free holiday. Some traditions die hard. The same dishes are being prepared this year. That's alright. Traditions are important. We just have to tweak them a little. I will have my own turkey breast for the holiday. My bread will be used for my personal batch of stuffing. I will shortly start on a batch of Ginger-Orange Cranberry Sauce. Other dishes are having slight modifications (substitute an ingredient with the gluten free version.)

The smell wafting through my apartment is intoxicating. The bread itself could have used a bit more salt (I cheated and tasted the edge), but it is bread in all its squishy goodness. I stole the recipe from Karina. Her Cheese Sandwich bread. It uses the french bread mix from Gluten Free Pantry. I haven't baked yeast bread since I was a little girl. I have to say, making the gluten free version is way easier! No kneading. :) I also bought their sandwich bread mix. I, amazingly, found it at one of our chain grocery stores. It cost a ton, but I figured I could buy it there, try it out, and if I like it I can order online. I will be ordering online. It is so easy to make. I can throw a loaf together on a Sunday and have sandwiches during the week. Easy lunches once again!

But back to the idea of cooking and food as emotional comfort. Yesterday I appeased a craving for Thai food. I arrived at the restaurant (my usual place until a month and a half ago) with a GF restaurant card I found at Gluten Free Travel. I showed him the card in both English and Thai (he was very happy to see the Thai version.) Very kindly he walk me through the menu pointing out which dishes he knew were safe. I then clarified that soy sauce was off limits (what is the chance they would actually have wheat free tamari?) and he pointed out a few dishes he thought I might like. Why was I craving my favorite take out? I received a call from one of my doctors. I went in for my annual checkup about two weeks ago and they had received my test results. Apparently they found abnormal cells in my pap smear (sorry guys, I know this is girlie talk). I have to go back in on Tuesday for some more tests. I know it could be nothing (lab mistake, irritation caused by meds, etc.) Or it could be something bad. I don't even want to start thinking of that end of the spectrum. It was quite a shock to receive that call, especially on the heels of all of my recent health issues/discoveries. I am ready for my health to stop pooping on me. Enough already. So I eat the foods I love. I go to The Spice House and buy more fragrant spices. Tonight I bake bread. Tomorrow I occupy myself with holiday cooking and family. Friday I entertain friends at my monthly movie night. We are having tacos: the anti-Thanksgiving meal. I surround myself with food and friends. (God, I should be 400 lbs with all this food!) I need to focus on all of the good things right now so I don't obsess over what this test could mean. I'm actually hoping it is somehow connected to the Celiac. Inflammation cause by CD. That would be good. Easily explained and connected to something I am already treating. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

For now I am going to de-pan my bread, eat a bit of it, wash dishes, and make some cranberry sauce. I'll let you know how it turns out.


Lynn Barry said...

I read your posting with sadness about the pap smear and then I remembered that I had an "abnormal" pap smear a year ago and it turned out to be nothing so I hope that is the case with you too.
I am delighted to have met you via blogspot and always look forward to reading your entries.
All my best,

Shannon said...

Thank you for the kind words and support. I've have been hearing from many people about this sort of thing happening. I heard that the doctors now have a "100% or retest" policy. Any sample that is not 100% normal has to get retested. So I'm keeping my fingers crossed!