A poster on a cruise message board I frequent solicited advice from other posters because their children were on the verge of getting braces. It made me think about my experience with braces only three years ago. You see, when I was a kid, my parents couldn't afford braces. While I didn't have horrible teeth, there was a degree of crowding on the bottom set because there were too many teeth for such a small mouth. I got the braces before I went to nursing school, wore them for a year, then they were taken off leaving the straightest, whitest teeth you could ever come across (insert joke here).
I won't lie. The experience was probably one of the most painful I have ever voluntarily committed to myself. Ever.
But I digress.
When I was in high school, I used to have a part time job working as a dietary aid at the local nursing home. I never did the cooking. Basically, I did the cleaning, helped serve the residents, and help the cooks in whatever they needed to do.
Why is this important? Let me tell you...
My teeth hurt solid for the week after my spacers were put in. Then, I had to have teeth extracted by an oral surgeon because my mouth is too small to accommodate a full set of teeth. THEN...the ortho put the actual braces on. All in all...I think my mouth ached for an entire month.
After a week of eating just soup, I got pretty sick and tired of it...even though there is a vast variety of soups out there. Plus, you can only go one for so long eating soup and mashed potatoes before you hit burnout. I was hungry for real food. I was perusing my freezer, lamenting at all the tasty things I had in there and could not eat because of the chewing factor, when suddenly I remembered my days working in the nursing home kitchen.
You know where I am going with this, don't you?
You can make ANY food edible in a pureed form. Just because some of the rockin' seniors can't actually masticate, doesn't mean they can't enjoy tasty food.
So, I drew on all my infinite knowledge of pureed food prep and gathered the essential tools: food processor, milk, fish sticks and Velveeta cheese.
I am somewhat embarrassed to say it, but that was the best pureed fish sandwich I have ever tasted. Coincidentally, it was the only pureed fish sandwich I have ever tasted. It sure beat chicken noodle soup all to hell.
In the event I have children, and they have the misfortune of requiring braces, I can rest easy knowing they won't have to suffer through countless bowls of tomato soup and jello like their peers. As long as I have a working food processor, they can join the rest of the family at mealtime without staring longingly at our plates.
They can enjoy what we are enjoying...all without unnecessary chewing.