Only Soup For YOU!

In food on 02/05/2009 at 8:32 pm

Two nights ago, whilst chomping on a juicy pig trotter, I bit down on bone when I thought it was cartilage, and felt my right TMJ twinge; since then, I haven’t been able to open my mouth without pain radiating up and down the right side of my head.


Not being able to chew is the worst thing that could happen to a foodie. Just ask Kobayashi, the eating champion of world renown who was diagnosed with bilateral arthritis of his TMJ when he injured his jaw while training (I love when eating a lot, fast, was deemed a sport). Among other feats, the beast ate 58 bratwurst in 10 minutes at the Sheboygan World Championships sponsored by Johnsonville. Lucky dog! From Kobayashi’s blog during the tough times last year at the Annual July 4th Hot Dog Eating Contest at Coney Island: I didn’t feel the pain during the match because I was so focused. I was not able to open my jaw as wide as I would like (in a lock) and so during the match I slipped my lower jaw forward and forced open my mouth. It was the best technique I could have come up with in my condition.

Okay so I don’t have to force myself to eat 63 Nathan’s hot dogs in excruciating pain, and still place 2nd, but what’s a foodie sans ability to eat? That’s like Michael Phelps, a fish out of water, hitting the bong at a party because he isn’t doing what he’s destined to do! Augh, the agony of hunger and days without QQ. I think all foodies must have an oral fixation; I seem to spend a lot of time thinking about how foods taste. And when it’s suddenly stripped from me, I’m like a heroin addict in prison looking forlornly at the tracks down my arms.

Besides being sick, these are the only times when congee seems edible. Though this is the first time I can recall injuring myself so severely in this manner. Self-diagnosis: Myofascial strain of the TMJ. If this tragedy ever happens to you, ice your face  10 min, 5X/day, and don’t eat solid foods for a day, to rest your jaw. A frozen tamale has worked well for this task. Reminds me of when I had braces tightened when I was a geeky teenager and was sore for days, sucking down yogurt as my only sustenance.

Recently, I discovered a new way to ‘enjoy’ congee: cook the rice and soup separately to preserve the individual grains! So here is another soup, an unique blend from Formosa, a much better version than the ginger-only tea Mother used to make me drink when I was sick, to beat out the cold out of me.

shittake mushroom (reconstituted whole)
chicken quarters (for more oomph, use pig trotters, pork belly, pork neck bones)
ginger (julienne for more surface area to release flavor)
salt and pepper
black vinegar optional

Put mushroom, ginger and chicken into pot with water. Simmer for at least 30min, about 1.5 hr if you’re using pig parts. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Cook up rice and add to soup to make a meal out of it.

Garnish with black vinegar if desired.

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