Is there anything more delicious than playing hooky for the day? (Yes, I did think that I was really, really ill . . . but it doesn't change the fact that I had a hundred things to accomplish that day, and instead, I just buried my head in a pillow.)
I knocked myself out with some super-strength paracetemol, and slipped in between the cool, silky sheets. I then proceeded to sleep until noon. What bliss.
Then there was the kind of transitional stage, between sleeping and upright wakefulness, which I would like to be allowed to experience every day. My idea of a nice transitional stage is to have a cup of tea (or two) and read for a little while in bed. Maybe a few cat stretches. Maybe a little more dozing.
By one pm, I was starting to feel a tad hungry . . . and so was my youngest daughter, who had presumably played computer games all morning. We agreed that some cinnamon toast would be a marvellous way to ease our fragile tummies into the day. For those of you who weren't lucky enough to be made cinnamon toast when you were tiny tots, here is the recipe:
- Spread some butter comprehensively over as many slices of bread as you feel you can manage to eat. Any bread will do, but it is nicest with white bread.
- Mix a generous measure of ground cinnamon into a bowlful of granulated or caster sugar. The resulting mixture should be light brown -- or to taste.
- Spread the cinnamon sugar generously over the buttered bread.
- Toast (on a cookie sheet) in a moderate oven (375F/180C) until the cinnamon sugar and butter have melted together, but before the bread starts to burn.
- Cut in triangles and eat, decadently, in bed or in front of the TV.
Although it is in no way health food, cinnamon toast is just the thing to immediately stabilize a depressed blood sugar. Also, it is a very comforting food to eat. Particularly if it is dripping rain outside when it is supposed to bright and sunny.
If stodgier fare is required, (as it will eventually be, particularly if you are more tired than sick), I recommend a baked potato. No rich accompaniments, though -- you need plain food if you are sick -- so just a dab of butter and some salt and pepper will dress it nicely. Like the cinnamon toast, the baked potato will taste better if you are eating it on a tray -- preferably while watching an Audrey Hepburn movie.
By mid-afternoon, and what with the medication, the sleep, and the carbs, I was started to feel a bit better. I was feeling better enough to contemplate some activity, and also better enough to start fretting about a day that was a total loss. I decided that some ironing was in order -- not only because I had a great pile of it to do, but also because it was the only chore that I could think of which would allow me to go on watching the Audrey Hepburn movie.
In addition to various other pieces of clothing, I managed to iron twelve of Sigmund's shirts. (This led me to wonder at Sigmund's profligate shirt-wearing behavior. I iron every week! How had Sigmund managed to dirty twelve shirts!!) I also managed to watch all of Sabrina, Paris When It Sizzles, and part of Roman Holiday. (By the time we got around to Roman Holiday, my grave illness was being studiously ignored by Sigmund and I was being called upon to deliver forth some dinner.
(A few comments on our Hepburn trilogy: I realized that, in a strange way, all of these movies have the same romantic arc/plot. Basically, a worldly, older man tries to manipulate or take advantage of the adorable ingenue. Although it looks touch and go for awhile, in each case the ingenue's winning ways triumph over middle-aged cynicism and Love conquers all. I would also add that we should have started with Roman Holiday -- as Gregory Peck is vastly preferable to either William Holden or Humphrey Bogart as a romantic hero. By the way, the word lugubrious could have been invented to describe Bogart's face.)
Although it is much nicer for someone to make dinner for you (especially if you are a sick person), here are some dinner suggestions which are suitable for a sick person who is required to cook.
First, a salad: rocket (from the garden), tomatoes, mozzarella and an avocado. With a bit of olive oil and some balsamic vinegar drizzled over the top. Freshly ground salt and pepper, of course. These are all gentle, soft foods -- perfect for an invalid in recovery.
Then, a glass of medicinal white wine -- to be taken with, and mixed into, the ersatz spaghetti carbonara.
(Not quite) spaghetti carbonara
- Chop a small yellow onion as finely as you can manage, and then saute in a glug of olive oil until soft.
- Fry some bacon or pancetta (the exact quantity of which should be a personal matter) until crisp. Drain the oil, and then throw it in with the onion.
- Then, add some white wine (a couple of ounces?) and let it bubble away over a medium-low heat for about 5 minutes or so.
- Cook some spaghetti until al dente.
- Saving a bit of the cooking water, toss the spaghetti with that plus a large knob of butter.
- Add the onion/bacon mixture and some grated parmesan cheese.
- Serve to hungry, grateful, pasta-loving people.
Of course a "real" spaghetti carbonara has lots of cream and butter in it. I like to think of this as a lighter, healthier version. Because it manages to be both "plain" and yet flavorful, comforting and yet digestible, it is the perfect food for sick people who are contemplating a re-entry to the real world.
But that's just me. So what do you like to eat when you are sick?