Monday, May 21, 2012

Preparing a Family Feast with a Slow Stomach

Preparing a delicious, home cooked meal is like creating a piece of art...even if it is purely to admire the beauty in the end, surrounded by family and friends.

Last week I flew back to my hometown in Kansas for a much needed visit with family and friends.  It can be a bit nerve-wracking to leave the comfort zone but I came well prepared.  We somehow managed to pack my  Blendtec (similar to Vitamix), feeding tube supplies, a bag of snacks including Macrobars, protein powder, crackers, teas and ginger chews, and even my favorite heating pad. 
As we all know, when family and friends get together it usually involves food and/or drinks of some sort.  Luckily, everyone here is very supportive and easily accommodating to my many "special" needs.  Prior to GP, I always made a feast of my latest and greatest recipes.  After a week of being here I began to miss the feeling of a chaotic kitchen, plates stacking and counters covered with cutting boards, pans and produce. 
I woke up one day and said to myself, "Just because I can't eat the whole kitchen does not mean I can't enjoy creating a feast for everyone else."  After all, the best memories usually involve everyone surrounding the food, not the food itself. 
So, off I went to the store and filled my market bags with everything I would need to make this happen, including a baking pan, which my father living in his bachelor pad (still love you Dad!) and much better on the grill than in the kitchen, did not own. 
There were chips and dips and wine and beer set out for everyone while I sipped on chilled coconut water to hydrate my body after a hot day in the sun.  After opening all the windows I turned the oven on and began to dance barefoot from fridge to faucet, chopping and tossing, asking for assistance in-between.  I baked artichokes and potatoes, steamed clusters of crab legs and boiled cobs of corn.  I chopped fresh cilantro and shredded cheddar and Parmesan cheeses. 
The table was set and the plates were filled.  My childhood friends and their kids joined in.  My brother and his girlfriend, after a long weekend of driving, arrived just on time, thankful for a home-cooked meal.  My dad sat sat down with a look of gratitude and curiosity on his face.  Most had never tried a fresh artichoke, so even though I couldn't eat one myself, it was wonderful to be able to show everyone how to peel and enjoy this vegetable, leaf by leaf.  To be honest, I actually did eat some of the meat on the ends of a few leaves just for the flavor but the heart of the choke is much too high in fiber for us. 
So, your probably asking what did I eat after all that work?  Rule #1, don't ever leave yourself out!  Amongst the variety of foods were a few I made sure were "me" friendly.  My plate included a small skinless baked potato, topped with a tsp of butter (coconut oil or olive oil works too) and finely chopped cilantro, a couple of crab legs which are low in fat/high in protein, and a few slices of leftover steamed zucchini from the day before.  I do well with a small solid dinner but if you do better with liquids, these ingredients could easily be added to a blender with some broth and turned into a tasty soup.  Even if I could not have eaten at all, I would have enjoyed myself just as much with a cup of tea.  Being with and watching everyone happily enjoy a meal I lovingly prepared is worth every moment.


  1. Stephanie,
    I am so happy you enjoyed creating all of these foods for your family and friends. It is hard to go get togethers, for me especially and just sit there and watch everyone eat. But I am working on that. Sometimes it is just more important to just be with loved ones.

  2. Thanks for the comment. I agree, being around loved ones feeds us just as much as actual food. This is something we call primary food vs. secondary food. Primary includes, for example - relationships, emotions, creativity, career and spirituality. Secondary is actual food.
    Keep working on being around those who love you no matter what, it gets easier in time.