My recent oral surgery has imposed a challenging dietary constraint: a week of nothing but liquid. And to tell the truth, it hasn't been that bad.
Maybe it's just the painkillers speaking, but boy do my hands feel heavy.
What I meant to say was that the liquid diet actually has its perks. What Pollan famously called the omnivore's dilemma (figuring out what to eat in a post-modern food culture) becomes a little easier without the use of teeth. Suddenly the question is not whether fair trade is more important than organic, but will it fit in a blender? If the answer is yes, I've probably eaten it -- or rather delicately swallowed it -- in this past week.
My meals can generally be divided into smoothies and soups, meaning they tend towards sweet or savory with a base of either soy milk or chicken stock. I made a big batch of the latter using a summer's worth of frozen bones, the last, shriveled onions from our winter CSA, a couple of carrots, herbs from the garden, and a glug of sherry. It's been my best friend this week, excusing almost everything as soup.
The challenge of course is to make mug after mug not only bearable but also appetizing. The pureed can of seafood chowder and spinach pictured at top was no such success.
My favorite creations have allowed me to enjoy liquid foods just as much as their solid counterparts. There's something molecular-gastronomic about drinking a peach, and it does cause you to reconsider and appreciate the subject in a new light.
The pureed peaches I've been slurping have been one of my favorite "foods": two extremely ripe local peaches, a thumb of super-ripe banana for added sweetness, and just enough soy milk to enable a vortex in the blender. When you remove the lid of the blender, a concentrated wave of peach aroma clobbers your nostrils. You swoon, though again, this may be the painkillers.
Another success has been liquified beans and rice. Sounds awful doesn't it? And yet the concoction is flavorful, comforting, and somewhat mysterious. If someone put a bowl of it in front of you at a restaurant, you'd find it palatable, familiar and yet impossible to place. I make mine by browning onion and garlic, using stock as the liquid and adding about a teaspoon of cumin per serving. The rice yields a particularly velvety texture.
Heck, I'm sticking to liquids from here on out. I know that's a heavy handed statement, but remember that my hands really do feel heavy. Smoothie time!
Friday, August 20, 2010
Posted by Aaron Kagan at 2:38 PM