A Spoonie in the kitchen…

For those of us of the disabled persuasion, cooking can be – and all too often is – a major challenge, and frequently, like yesterday, a challenge too far. No matter how good we might be, it’s the lack of physical resources that’s the problem.

My first batch of meds, including morphine, Hydro,** and antibiotics, among much else, was taken at 06.00, second batch at

08.30, just taken my inhalers at 10.30, along with my ME – supporting supplements.

I also need a solid hit of Oramorph, or I’m not going to make it through. Apart from anything else, I’ve changed my leg dressing and that generally guarantees pain off the scale for a while (though, touch wood, it’s quiet right now), as does just being on my feet. Only then am I ready to go.

**Because of the planned exertion, and the antibiotics, another 20 or 30mg of Hydro will be needed later (i.e. my normal dose is 20mg at 06.00, 10 at lunch, plus any extras in the afternoon; NICE guidelines say double the dose when taking antibiotics).

But, and it’s a very important but, no matter how good I am, or how much I enjoy cooking, and no matter how heavily medicated I am, I am going to spend the day in excruciating pain. How bad it would be without my meds I don’t even want to contemplate. Not a whinge, just a fact-of-life note for the benefit of whatever DWP snoops or malign psychos might be reading this.

So – plans for today (the lamb is for the freezer, the soup for this week).

It’s important to tackle the most labour-intensive first while I have the energy – the lamb casserole I wanted to make yesterday, with dates, sour cherries (and sweet), black olives and a new DIY Harissa blend with a lot less Cayenne pepper (you can always add more heat, you can’t take it out!). It’s not technically hard, but there’s a lot of prep, starting with removing the fat from the leg steaks and rendering it down, then using it, with added olive oil if needed, to brown the meat and sweat off the alliums – no point in throwing away all that flavour – while doing the rest of the prep (with lots of rest breaks).

Then, after lunch, I’ve a caulie that needs using (so, soup, with onions and spuds, carrot and swede). Aunt Bessie’s does a frozen carrot and swede mash which I’ve been intending to try as a soup base, with added onions. Today might be a good day for that – minimise the work. The caulie – almost tasteless – is going to be browned in clarified butter in an attempt to improve that. I would roast it, but this is easier, and less washing-up.

I need cake, too, but that might have to wait. If I do too much I’ll crash again, as I did yesterday. In fact, right now all I can say for sure is the lamb casserole has to be made – anything else is in the laps of whatever gods there might be…

And, to conserve energy, this is a day for the food processor. Using it means that I’ll be on my feet for maybe half an hour (veg still needs to be peeled – domestic veg-peeling machines have so far failed to appear, while commercial ones are too big and very expensive), instead of an hour or more, and in terms of pain and exhaustion, that matters – a lot.

And in case anyone is wondering why I’m writing instead of slaving away in the kitchen, I’m waiting for everything to come up to room temperature.

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