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Soft Food Survival Tips For When You're Sick

Smoked whitefish salad via Bi Rite 

Now, this isn’t the most glamorous topic, but for some of us, there comes a time when you'll have a visit to the dentist that’s going to knock you out of dining commission for a while (nooooo!). Or maybe you have a friend who just had gum surgery (ow ow ow) and you want to be a pal and style them with a tasty delivery. As someone who is on day twelve of not being able to eat normal foods (trust, I am dying for a bite of a burrito), I have some "soft food survival tips" to share. A lot of these dishes are super-comforting, so they’d also work well even if you’re home sick. Yeah, this is the kind of "rainy day" page you just may want to bookmark. 

Jook Is Your Friend

This homey rice dish is not only easy on your mouth, but it’s fulfilling too (and amazing with an egg on top). Make a batch ahead of time, or you can order some from Out the Door on Bush (get the Chicken Porridge, and give the donuts on top to a friend). Mission Chinese Food makes a gingery Westlake Rice Porridge (ask them to hold the beef, you may not be able to eat it), and bonus: they deliver.

More Than Just Broth

When you can’t chew, you’re still going to want something to fill you up. Try orzo in chicken broth (it's so easy to eat), and add fresh marjoram, butter, and a shaving of Parmesan—you could also add a soft-boiled egg, and pastina is another easy one to eat. Nope, it’s not just for kids.

Get to Know Polenta

Not only is polenta super quick to make, but it’s also really versatile. Go savory and top it with tomato sauce, a soft and gooey cheese (I loved it with Jasper Hill Willoughby or teleme), and of course, put an egg on it. Have some polenta left over? Reconstitute it in the morning with some water on the stove, and then top it with hot milk, honey, and butter. Move over, oatmeal.

Step Up Your Egg Game

Sure, there are scrambled eggs, but then there are these rich, soft-scrambled eggs à la Jean-Georges Vongerichten (or Francis Lam). Instead of adding the extra knob of butter at the end, I do a big spoonful of Greek yogurt and cook for a tiny bit more. A grating of Parmesan over the bowl seals the deal.

Random Discoveries

I think I have consumed three containers of the smoked whitefish salad from Bi-Rite Market in the past 12 days (thanks to delivery to my door from Instacart)—it’s incredibly easy to eat, but gives you some of that savory flavor you can’t get from soups. Spoonfuls of hummus and baba ghanoush, however, aren’t so fab on their own. But egg salad? Delicious. 

Buy an Immersion Blender

This thing will be your best friend, whipping up any soup or stew into a manageable purée. I was a bit too optimistic about being able to eat some chicken noodle soup and a bean soup I dug out of my freezer, but after a minute with the immersion blender, voilà! Potato salad also benefited with a hit from the blender. Whip it good. 

Smoothies, Milkshakes, and Soft-Serve

You can come up with all kinds of smoothie combos, but think about adding fresh turmeric as it can decrease swelling and promote healing (try a smoothie with banana, mango, almond milk, and a little honey). Consider using some of these other nut-based milks to change things up.

As for milkshakes, why just have plain old strawberry when you can have matcha green tea from Bi-Rite Creamery? Or Secret Breakfast from Humphry Slocombe? Or try a combo of flavors (ginger and banana, hmmmm?) from Mitchell’s. And then there’s the pie milkshake from Chile Pies & Ice Cream. Yup, pie milkshake. That’s for the bonus round.

Have you had the frozen Greek yogurt from Souvla? Well, here's your chance to discover if you prefer the Greek sour cherry syrup, Greek olive oil with sea salt, or Cretan wildflower honey topping as your favorite. (The baklava crumbles have to wait for another day, sorry sweetie.) 

Puddin’ Head

When was the last time you had chocolate pudding? Make Bill Cosby proud and make a batch. Zippity zap.

Herbal Remedies

It has been said that arnica really helps reduce swelling and bruising, and bromelain (an extract derived from pineapple stems) is another supplement goo for taking after surgery or injury. And you can have both delivered to you from Rainbow Grocery (again, thanks Instacart)!

Feel better, and trust... you'll be able to eat corn on the cob again soon.

 

Marcia Gagliardi is the founder of the weekly tablehopper e-column; subscribe and get more food news and gossip at tablehopper.com. Follow her on Twitter: @tablehopper.