With a name like Cook, it only seems natural to measure progress by the Sunday Dinner.
Recalling his January 27 surgery date, his first Sunday, January 30, was hospital-based where he moved from the intensive care unit to a standard surgical floor. The hospital had an interesting food service in that the patient needed to telephone an order for each meal just as one would order room service in a hotel. Richard struggled on his own ordering that first meal - pork roast, mashed potatoes and cheese cake with lemonade. It was an odd selection for him lacking vegetables, but it was what he could read and speak.
On his second Sunday he was home and willing to eat at the dining room table with us.
He assembled his own beef fajita as the ingredients were passed around the table.
On his third Sunday he helped with preparation. Richard cleaned the beef into chunks and I mixed the ingredients for the oven casserole. Richard then peeled the potatoes I set out. I finished preparing the meal from there.
Today on his fourth Sunday, Richard and I discussed menu options and decided to prepare the following:
Chicken Parmigiana (a simple oven-baked chicken with Italian toppings)
Pasta tossed with a basil-tomato-onion sauce
Green beans with onions and
I thawed the boneless chicken breasts, cut them into manageable pieces and gave Richard the recipe to prepare them. He did it. He prepared the entire meal with minimal help. Part of the minimal help was in determining sequencing. He started to cook the pasta sauce before he started the chicken, risking scorched sauce. Otherwise, his performance was delicious.
Yesterday Richard was willing to help out by baking the week’s supply of bread. Saturday afternoon I handed him the simple white bread recipe. I learned that Richard is very concrete at this stage of recovery. When Peter makes the recipe he achieves 3 or 4 loaves using narrow bottom pans. The recipe said 2 loaves and Richard was determined to obey the recipe. He found some over-sized pans to keep it that way. The recipe said “yields 2” so two it was. Scrumptious and wide-bottomed – I guess I should rejoice that he likes wide-bottoms.