I had jaw surgery in college. Though the pain of the surgery and recovery was intense, the worst part by far was the six week period during which I was not allowed to consume solid food. I love food, and food texture is the most important component of eating for me. I’m also very sensitive to the food I eat, so consuming too much sugar and too little protein or fat makes me light-headed and dizzy and cranky. Unfortunately, most of my options for eating were smoothies or sugary, disgusting Ensure bottles. I had a friend who also had jaw surgery who was so desperate to eat real food that she put a piece of pizza into a blender. I never tried this recipe because I was informed that it was like sipping lumpy sawdust from a straw.
Not only was my food all liquid, but my medicine was liquid as well because I could not open my mouth wide enough to accept a pill. Although the drug companies claim that they flavor liquid medicine, they lie. It tastes of sadness.
If you are working with a client who has been placed on a liquid diet, have compassion. This diet is not for the weak. It takes away one of life’s purest joys and prevents you from socializing with others since you cannot join in their meals. Most of your favorite things in life have been taken from you, and you are expected to be okay with it. Trust me, there is nothing okay with going on a liquid diet.
With that, I am providing recipes for the poor unfortunate soul who has been robbed of pizza and steak and sandwiches and the deliciously satisfying feeling of chewing.
First up is pureed soup. It is delicious, and people who are allowed to eat solid foods will eat it without coaxing.
You will need a hand blender for this. I recommend Cuisinart.
Winter vegetable soup
- chicken stock (or make your own — put chicken bones in a Crockpot overnight and remove the bones the next day)
- vegetables (choose a combination)
- seasonings as needed
Vegetable (and bean) combinations:
- carrot and sweet potato
- carrot and potato
- sweet potato and black bean
- potato and broccoli
- carrot and lentil
- potato and green pea
- pumpkin and carrot
- pumpkin and sweet potato
If you need very thick liquids, the broth should barely cover the vegetables in the pot. If you can have thinner liquids, then you can add more broth.
To make this, you’ll want to cook your vegetables in chicken broth (or water if you have no broth) until they are very, very soft. They should fall apart when you stick a fork in them. The vegetables are best if they’ve been roasted before cooking, but this step is unnecessary.
Remove your pot of broth and vegetables from the heat. Allow to cool down for a bit, then take your hand blender and blend until the soup is all a single consistency.
Season with whatever you want. Sometimes I choose cinnamon and salt, other times ginger and salt sound good.