Monday, August 26, 2013

25 August 2013

Such simple Pleasures

This morning, breakfast, lift the lid covering the main plate, slowly …. slowly now, steady drum roll to increase the tension of anticipation …... Ta da !!!!! “Breakfast revealed”, says the nameless faceless unknown announcer in my mind. The voice sounds like Don Amechee, or maybe Don Pardo, we'll never know. The round lid, looking much like some sort of flying saucer that landed on the plate beneath, was hiding the morning's surprise offering from the kitchen. The suspense was highly charged with cautious anticipation. What unexpected gift this morning, or which soul crushing repeat of dull fare would await the grand reveal?

The highest chance usually goes to the lifeless “scrambled eggs”, which are a grand misnomer perpetrated since before the second world war. This food product has had the life processed out of it since the shells were cracked away from the egg. Unlike the regular process of preparing eggs once they are released from the captivity of their ovoid shaped calcium capsules, if these eggs do not meet a hot surface waiting to change their molecular consistency into a form we have become familiar with on our breakfast plates. Instead they are beat and whipped to such a degree as to blend completely the yolk with the albumen to the point where one component cannot be determined from the other. This produces a food product ingredient that if cooked at this point could be scrambled eggs, quiche, or the base to crème brule´, but to finish the crème brulee, much more is added to reach the final product, including the crème.)

If indeed this nearly tasteless egg mixture is subject to a drying process, the result is dehydrates eggs, the bane of every egg lover and breakfast aficionado. Some cooks may like dehydrated eggs as an ingredient in some larger recipe. People who produce food in volume like dehydrated eggs because it makes their job easier. These people are not worried about taste or texture for two reasons. 1) They don't eat them, so they don't have to care. 2) They can get their job completed with much less time and effort, and they still don't care. Thus producers of food for large groups don't worry about the finer things like taste, mouthfeel, or what their clients are used to before the present setting. The standard commercial attitude fits well here, “If you don't like it, you will move on to another purveyor.” Except for one small detail, … some folks can't move on. Military personnel and long term residents of care facilities come to mind right off the top.

The scrambled eggs here in this facility are so very consistent, which is why a lot of people here accuse them of being dehydrated. They could pass, no doubt about it, although … I'm not so sure that is a mark that anyone would want to strive for. No self appreciating cook, that is.

Damn! Scrambled eggs, under the lid. Not a bit of cubed ham cut up and mixed in. Likewise no onion, green pepper or any spices to differentiate this breakfast plate from every other. Two slices of gluten free bread, toasted. And Twwwooooooo strips of bacon. This is big news. In the seven months that I have been here this has never happened. Bacon is on the menu, maybe twice a month as posted by the dayroom. It ends up on my plate about a third of those times. Which means I only see bacon once in two months. The interesting part of this particular Sunday's breakfast offering is that when those few times when bacon is actually on my plate, it is only one strip of bacon. I don't know if this is by design (bacon being somewhat expensive and all … Or if it is one of the commonly expected, but rather nasty choices that the kitchen pulls on me.

You see sometimes my meal doesn't come close to what is being served in that the kitchen is watching out for me, keeping my meals gluten free to meet my celiac requirements. They do use a Gluten free bread for my bread needs, and they have discovered some frozen readymade pancakes and waffles to serve when the menu calls for those foods. There are outright substitutions for items liked breaded fish sticks. And sometimes complete withdrawals for items like chicken noodle soup (although I know that the noodles sink to the bottom of the cup and it is no great feat to deftly sip the broth portion of the soup from the top and gently with a spoon tease the meat and vegetable chunks from the noodles laying in the bottom of the bowl.) Somehow the kitchen staff doesn't know that I have figured this out yet, they just don't offer any soup at all. I now have several CENAs trained as to what I can eat and what not. If soup is on the menu and they see other trays with soup, they find out what kind and then ask me if I would like some of that soup, then they order a bowl from the kitchen for me.

Now that is an exemplary demonstration and care.

Feeding of me doesn't have to be this difficult. Although most people coming across preparing a gluten free meal is some great first water mystery, it is not as difficult as they want to make it out to be.

So today I was served two full strips of bacon, along with two slices of buttered toast, which I laid one strip of bacon in each slice of bread , folded it over in half, and I had two finger sized bacon sandwiches.

What an auspicious start to a Sunday morning!

Sometimes you have to look for even the tiny things to appreciate. And when they show up, savor every moment to the fullest experience for maximum enjoyment.

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