Friday, 30 March 2012

Baby food for an adult gourmand

Some of you, with memories for, frankly, what you should have forgotten, may recall that, back in August of 2010, I commenced seriously drastic dental treatment.

And yesterday, I had the final surgery that was required. Which is, in itself, a wonderful morsel of knowledge. Particularly as it wasn't actually as easy as last time. A tooth breaking in the middle of the process didn't help, but I survived - even if Paracetemol were required later in the evening.

But once that was over, I faced the relatively short-term question of what to eat. And unlike 2010, I have made a specific promise to myself that I will not resort to tins of Heinz macaroni cheese.

My dentist gave me the usual little leaflet, which stated that, for the rest of the day after the surgery, you can eat and drink normally, but avoiding the extraction site.

Which is fine if you have just one such site. I have a number, right across the bottom jaw. He did them all in one go, on both sides, because I am on record as having no bleeding problems and as being a quick healer.

So food that didn't even need gumming into submission was key.

But what sort of baby food can a gourmand call on?

There was something faintly funny in that, earlier in the day, I'd made a point of ensuring I'd had a far more substantial lunch than usual. In this case, a sizeable bowl of spaghetti carbonara.

I still forget that eating earlier in the day actually improves your appetite later, so it was almost a surprise to find, a couple of hours after returning home, that I was downright hungry.

In advance, a large pot of Onken yogurt, flavoured with rhubarb and vanilla, had been installed in the fridge. A bowl of that slipped down easily enough.

But while perfectly pleasant, it was hardly enough to sate hunger.

The obvious thought is that you need some sort of starchy carb - bread, for instance. But this is where it's useful to remember that a bit of fat will leave you sated even more quickly.

And the perfect way to do that was in serious gourmand fashion - opening a little tin of pâté that we'd brought back from Paris some time ago. Tasty stuff, which Otto assured me should also be shared with her in an act of feline solidarity.

Today is easier. Substantial amounts of coffee have already been enjoyed, along with soft-boiled eggs. The Other Half, who is 'looking after the invalid' has also bought more pâté, which I will open at some point this weekend.

And the one real submission to junk is a very soft loaf of white bread, the odd slice of which will be enjoyed later with butter, jam or golden syrup, and clotted cream in a nod to a rare and utterly indulgent treat my mother would rustle up if anyone had had a pot of that Cornish classic sent to us.

This evening, I am going to ambitiously face down some of Henry Tidiman's Cumberland sausages - surely a soft enough meat? - with some garlicky, crushed potatoes (the garlic is a natural antibiotic) and some veg or other, cooked to be soft enough for my mouth.

I shall neither starve nor be forced into the world of food that I don't really like.

Things will get easier as the weekend progresses and my mouth heals. But fish tomorrow should present no problems, while I'll have to give Sunday rather more thought.

However, the moral of this little story, my friends, is to go to your dentist regularly for check ups; demand to know whether they have an hygienist and when you can make an appointment for that service; learn about all that flossing malarky.

And educate yourself about what gum disease is and how to spot the first signs. When companies advertise stuff on TV that supposedly stops the pain of 'sensitive teeth', that's not a signal to buy their products but to see a dentist damned quickly if you have not already been doing so.

Now obviously none of the above is remotely easy on a low income - which had been part of my problem for years.

But it is also true that much dentistry in the UK leaves a lot to be desired. Perhaps it is even partly a regional issue, as has been suggested to me - although the dentist that left me a total wreck about 10 years ago was in London. And he never mentioned gum disease by name or suggested any form of serious treatment that could have been undertaken then.

Which also leaves me wondering whether that was partly because I'd managed to get an appointment at that time on the NHS - and NHS patients were treated dismally by at least some dentists (not my current one), as though they were beneath serious treatment.

Or maybe we still have a culture of just assuming and accepting bad teeth - and that they won't last for the duration of your life?

But whatever the facts - and I'm not going to pretend that I know for certain - just try to find a good dentist and visit them regularly.

No comments:

Post a Comment