I hate to write a whiney post but it’s my blog so I’m gonna do it anyway.
I’M SO SICK! (See that? I’m typing in bright, angry RED. That sick.)
It seems the fates have bestowed yet another sinus infection upon my already battered immune system. Thanks a lot, assholes. Seriously though, this has got to be the fifth sinus infection I’ve had this year, not counting the bout of strep throat I had over Thanksgiving. (I still count in that Sept-May school calendar style so I haven’t exactly been sick every month this year, but almost.)
Actually, I’m pretty sure this is the same sinus infection I’ve had for the past four years since I first moved to NYC. All those times I thought I was healthy, it was really just the virus messing with me. Those viruses are wily little bastards…lulling me into a false sense of security by making me think it was gone, only to lay in wait until I have an upcoming singing gig and then BAM! That damn thing comes out with guns blazing, nose running, glands swelling, throat soring and fever spiking – all at the same time, seemingly overnight. It’s like magic! Except for awful.
So I thought I’d eat some chicken soup.
A normal individual would probably go to the store (or try to con one of their roommates into going to the store for them) to pick up a couple of cans of Campbell’s, or failing grift-prone roommates, simply order some chicken noodle from that weird Spanish deli down the block. (I kid you not, there are giant chicken bones and whole corn cobs floating around in their soup – it’s totally weird, not to mention tricky to eat with a spoon.)
Assuming you were somehow not inclined to eat a congealed can of yellow sodium or didn’t want to choke to death on a surprise corn cob, the highly motivated individual might purchase some chicken stock and make soup from scratch using a combination of farm fresh ingredients and a smug sense of superiority.
Guess which one I picked?
If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you might have noticed that my culinary tendencies (or any of my tendencies, really) don’t often fall within the normal spectrum. For although I’ll admit to being a Campbell’s soup girl at heart, I so desperately aspire to be a smug do-it-yourself-er, that I usually wind up taking things a little too far and my kitchen experiments typically end in tragedy.
Such was the case with this afternoon’s soup project.
My friend Joe has suffered with chronic sinusitis for the past decade. (How’s that for a segue?) As if that didn’t suck enough, Joe is also a singer so that’s a double bummer. After several years on all kinds of meds, a ridiculous amount of dollars spent on doctors, and one deviated septum surgery later, Joe decided to take matters into his own hands and try some homeopathic remedies. This lead to a two-year exploration of diet, exercise, supplements and all things wellness – which totally worked. Joe lost over sixty pounds and is healthier than he’s ever been.
The unfortunate thing I’m learning is that, the key to great health really does require a pretty massive lifestyle change. At least, it’d have to be massive for the girl who once went on an all-waffle diet. Seriously. Sophomore year of college. They put a waffle bar in the cafeteria and I was a goner. I ate those things at least twice a day. It was so awesome…
Anyway, if you think some of my experiments are weird, you should check out the crazy shit Joe’s been doing. Fortunately, you’ll soon be able to read all about it in his forthcoming blog, Gut-Wrenching: Adventures in personal wellness and sundries. While he hasn’t officially started blogging yet (nudge, nudge) he has posted a few links to some interesting source material that will probably make you want to not eat or drink anything ever again. Except for avocados. They’re fine.
One of those links provides a succinct explanation of Joe’s latest dietary experiment, the Gut and Psychology Syndrome (or GAPS) diet. Because I couldn’t be bothered to read the entire website, never mind the book, I’ll summarize everything I can remember from my conversations with Joe and the random scraps I’ve picked up from the internet. [See, when I don’t know the full story I sometimes make up my own story and add lots of meaningless details to make it sound convincing. Therefore, I am not to be held accountable for anything I say on this blog. Ever.]
Remember that guy who was making a big deal about the MMR vaccine and saying that it caused autism? Me neither. But it happened. Anyway, this guy, who is (was?) probably some type of doctor, hypothesized that the MMR vaccine caused tiny perforations in the lining of the intestines. Rather than getting properly absorbed and digested, these tiny holes were allowing proteins to pass directly into the bloodstream and because of reasons of extreme science and mystery, these fugitive proteins started acting like neuro-toxins. Those are bad. His theory was apparently discredited however, when several parents who never got their kids vaccinated were all like, “Um, we never got our kids vaccinated and they still have autism. What up now, bitch?”
So then the whole debate became about whether or not to get your kids vaccinated with autism, or something. The mommy-bloggers were all up in arms, the day time talk show hosts and the 24-hr ‘news’ networks alike couldn’t get their cadre of on-air experts interviewed fast enough. This was even bigger than debate over which was better: Classic versus New Coke! Suffice it to say, everyone was going nuts over this thing.
Except for this one lady doctor who’s a Russian ex-pat living in Britain. She was all like (in her adorable Russian/British accent), “Hm, maybe these intestinal perforations are causing autism (and all kinds of other stuff) but if that pesky MMR vaccine isn’t the culprit, maybe those holes are a result of our super crappy diet!” And so she came up with all this bland, not at all processed and generally pain in the ass food you’re supposed to eat and basically cured her kid of autism. Plus like, a thousand other kids. For realsies.
And they all lived happily ever after. The end.
Oh wait, I was supposed to be talking about soup. Right.
So there are several stages to this GAPS diet. I don’t know what they are so don’t ask. All I know is that the first phase involves eating chicken soup because apparently it really does have magical healing properties. It can’t be any old chicken soup though, it has to be this special chicken soup that you make yourself, with love…and bone marrow. Lots and lots of bone marrow.
And I’m gonna tell you what, making your own chicken stock is a project and a half!
First of all, it meant going to the grocery store. I have somewhat of an irrational hatred of the grocery store that probably stems from the fact that I worked in several of them back in high school and college and it was never a pleasant experience for me, but it could also be because all of my adult apartments have been in crappy neighborhoods where I only had access to crappy grocery stores. Whatever the reason, I hate it. Especially in the day time.
There are few things that I loathe more than going grocery shopping when it’s light out. Day time shopping means parents with children and old people with coupons, and while I normally love all three of these demographic groups, when food shopping is involved, it’s a recipe for disaster…that generally adds an average of 10-20 minutes to what should otherwise have been a quick trip. To sum up: my version of hell is waiting in a never-ending line at the grocery store. After several eternities, I finally make it up to the register only to discover that my items have been bagged in the wrong order so that my grapes are squished and all my eggs have been broken…all to the sounds of a harpsichord being tuned. Yeah, I’m not that nuts about the harpsichord either, but that’s a story for a different time.
Anyway, I had to go to the store in the afternoon so I could be there while the butcher shop was still open since they don’t always have someone behind the counter at my local ghetto mart. Not how I was hoping to spend my Friday afternoon. End of rant.
The other thing that made this whole chicken stock project tough for me is that I don’t trust chickens…at all. So I used beef. I’m just much more comfortable with cows. For one thing, cows don’t come with giblets or gizzards and I don’t know what either of those things are. Also, I didn’t feel like hacking up a chicken and stuffing it in a pot. I’ve seen ‘Chicken Run’ and even if they can’t fly, those things are fast! My beef bone marrow parts on the other hand, came neatly packed in Styrofoam and plastic giving them the nice, sterile air of the familiar.
[See how nonthreatening that is?]
I’m going to skip the part where I chopped vegetables for an hour, let the beef ‘stew’ for six hours as I watched it turn from red and gelatinous to brown and foamy to a greenish-grey sludge – because it was gross enough the first time. I’ll cut right to the chase.
I spent over six hours making this:
A fatty, beef-based, green gunge.
Joe says I could’ve strained the fat out of it, but I reminded him that the lady from the interwebs (that doctor whose name I don’t know, but whose advice I’m blindly following anyway) said that the fatty bits and gelatinous marrow-y parts were the best parts! I question if she’s ever actually tasted this soup though because it is not good. Not even a little bit. But since I’ve got four quarts of it, by the gods, I’m gonna eat every bite…or I’m going to accidentally pour it out the window that overlooks the back alley of my apartment in order to feed that family of hungry feral cats that lives in our trash room. Either way.
Peace out, space cowboys!
p.s. Can you believe I just wrote an eighteen hundred word blog about making soup – and I didn’t even include the recipe! Haha…oh NyQuil, you are such a sakjh;akufe………..what? Are you people still here? I’m trying to sleep! *sigh* Fine…I guess I’ll come up with some kind of ending to this stupid blog… *grumbles incoherently for a while*
But seriously though, there are so many more reliable sources out there for all sorts of health/diet/wellness information. You should go to those places. The purpose of this blog is merely to entertain give me a place to rant and spew more useless nonsense out into the vast expanse of cyberspace.