I recently had dental surgery. I needed a tissue graft for the receding gum of one of my molars. For the squeamish reading this (hi, Mom), I’ll spare the details and just say this process was less involved than a root canal but on par (possibly worse due to lack of sedation) with wisdom teeth removal. I was swollen. I was in pain. I was hungry.
One thing about me: I’m almost always hungry. If I don’t feel like eating and I haven’t just finished a meal, there may be something wrong–mentally or physically–to curb my appetite.
The issue with dental surgery is the limitations it places on one’s ability to eat the way she loves. I have long been a huge fan of soups, so I will admit going into this procedure, I had a plan that was all soup all day and I was fine with it. I had a nice long grocery list laid out with little notes and explanations so my husband could navigate Harris Teeter without me (side note: my husband is excellent at grocery shopping for things he enjoys. It’s the “weird” things: the olive oil, the ginger root, the multiple different colored onions… that throw him.) and I knew I’d be cooking up some awesome soups that for whatever reason, I never got around to making this long, drawn out fall-winter-canwereallycallthisspring? season that seems *finally* (knock on wood) behind us.
So there I was, laying on the couch with an ice pack pressed to my cheek, catching up on Grey’s Anatomy (yes, seriously), and trying not to let my cranky, post-procedure feelings convince me I was getting hangry each time my husband called with another question. He was amazing, by the way. He’d call and say “I can’t find such and such” or “they’re out of this or that” and I’d say it doesn’t matter, I don’t need it, because I just wanted him to get home with the basics so I could eat SOMETHING besides the applesauce they gave me at the periodontist (which was already gone). He kept saying it was important so he was going to find it for me. My knight in corduroys.
Anyway, I started flipping through the recipes I’d jotted down for Carrot Ginger Soup and Black Bean Sweet Potato Soup and this impressively-named Flu Buster Vegetable Soup and realized I didn’t want any of them. I wanted salt-and-vinegar chips. I wanted chocolate-covered pretzels. I wanted a cheeseburger. Basically, I wanted what I couldn’t have. My husband found me wallowing in self-pity and a little bit of drool and frantically tried to help with a bowl of ice cream. (The best thing about this surgery: I was instructed to do my two favorite things–eat ice cream and don’t exercise.) It did help, until my stitches bled (sorry for that detail, Mom).
The perfect soup occurred to me around this time, and I frantically Googled to make sure we had the necessary ingredients (my husband loves me, but I couldn’t bring myself to send him back to the store, no matter how often he offered).
Several weeks ago, we went out to dinner. I was feeling particularly adventurous that night, so I told my husband I wanted to go somewhere I’d never been. I even offered a French restaurant he’d mentioned in the past (I’m not a huge fan of French food. Sorry). He ignored this completely and decided we should go to a Turkish restaurant that he loves near his parents’ house. Normally, I’d be happy with this option, but I was feeling like being dangerous and surprising myself by eating some frog legs or similar “French” cuisine. So I was less than kind as we sat down at the Turkish place and huffily read through the menu. Our waiter told us the soup of the day was Red Lentil Soup, a traditional Turkish soup, and I informed my husband I was going to try it (as if it was some big stand I was taking to display my displeasure that we were not eating somewhere new). All of that is to say, I had the lentil soup, it blew my socks off, and if not for my husband ignoring my wishes (read: demands) to go elsewhere, I would never have even thought to make a soup of pureed lentils and potatoes.
So that is what I needed when my mouth was swollen and my jaw was sore. The Turkish Lentil Soup ordered out of (weird, hangry) spite ended up not only saving the day, but it was probably one of the best dishes I’ve made in general. My husband did a fantastic job with the immersion blender, too. He refused to let me stand up for the time it took to puree the soup.
So there aren’t any pictures, but the recipe I used is below.
Turkish Red Lentil Soup:
- 1 cup red lentils, rinsed
- 1/2 cup (~2 small) potatoes, peeled and chopped
- 1/4 cup diced onion
- 4 cups vegetable or chicken broth (I used chicken)
- 1/4 tsp paprika
- Put all ingredients in large stockpot; bring to boil.
- Lower heat to Medium-Low and simmer 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Remove from heat and blend.
(Let cool to room temperature before eating if you’ve just had dental surgery and can’t have hot things)