Tag Archives: trying new foods

The Secret Ingredient

During last weeks PT session, my physical therapist and I made small talk as she was helping me get into my new ankle braces (more to come on that story). I told her that my only weekend plans was to attend the Taming of the Shrew play with my sister at Cedarville University. (The play was AMAZING!) Because I had nothing else, she invited me to join her and her husband for the annual Sauerkraut Festival in Waynesville.


They have attended for a few years in a row and she proceeded to tell me all about the different things they have there at the booths and the food. When she mentioned that they put sauerkraut in desserts too, I gave an “ew” remark but was assured you don’t taste it, it just adds moisture. Like a secret ingredient. I am not a sauerkraut fan, but decided it would be fun to tag along and experience the festival for myself.

Around these parts, every town has a few festivals special only to that town. For Cedarville it is Cedarfest held at Labor Day. The Chamber of Commerce writes:

Cedarfest is an annual Labor Day Weekend festival in Cedarville, Ohio; the “Home of Labor Day”. Cedarfest has something for everyone in the home of the Father of Labor Day.


It is a really fun-filled weekend. We attended different events last year–my favorite was the pancake breakfast served at the fire station. 🙂 Anyway, Yellow Springs holds the Art on the Lawn Festival and an annual Street Fair every October. Young’s Dairy holds different events in the summer and in Springfield (also during Labor Day weekend), they have an annual “Fair at the New Boston” festival, in which you take a step back into time. There are countless others–if you attended them all, your summer weekends would always be booked. But I think these traditions are fun and they provide opportunities for vendors to share their home-made products with people and it is a social time.

Yesterday was no different, except this was by far the LARGEST festival I have ever seen! Wow…crowded! It reminded me of back in the days where the markets were on the lower section of the city or right outside the city walls…full of vendors selling their meats, baskets or fabrics, with live chickens clucking around. 🙂 There were no live chickens in Waynesville, but the street was still a sight to see.

Although she was not there as a PT–it was kind of like hanging out with an aunt/uncle–I felt more confident with her being there as we took the walker I just bought Friday and it was my first time using it; she showed me the proper ways to get on the curb and such. I am so thankful that I had the walker, because it was not only great for balance as we weaved our way through mass amounts of people, but the seat also came in handy when we ate lunch and for the souvenir bags of homemade goodies.

The town was set up like a driving street. You walked in one direction on the right lane and the other direction in the left lane…traffic jams were ultimately inevitable. The main street of vendor booths was a mile long. We started on the side in which you climb the hill…so by the time we reached the other side and turned around, we were walking downhill. (Another time I was thankful for the walker!) We took our time…mostly “window shopping” but every once in a while stopping in a booth to look around at the products or test taste the food. We tried the sauerkraut salsa at one booth…my tongue felt like it was on fire! Thankfully, there was a booth from WI not too far down, so the delicious cheeses set that problem straight.

We had sauerkraut pizza for lunch and it actually was really good. If I was served the pizza at a restaurant without knowing what the added toppings were under the cheese, I would never think to say “sauerkraut” as an addition. They look like onions anyway. But this pizza was good–also had sausage and green peppers too. Towards the end of our two mile excursion, we stopped at a booth that had desserts (sauerkraut: secret ingredient). Among the options, I bought a brownie, a slice of pie, and a whoopee pie. Still seems strange, but the brownie reminded me of German Chocolate cake and I had the pie this morning at breakfast with coffee. I liked it better than the brownie.

Yesterday was a fun day. I am glad I went and glad I had my walker to help me as I really pushed myself physically in all that walking. By the time I came home, my body was ready to just sit; so I did. Even after a good nights sleep, my body today was feeling the effect of yesterday’s exercise–my body was just slower moving today. It took me all afternoon to get papers organized out of my file box for a meeting tomorrow; my hands were not cooperative. Then it took me over a half hour just to change the sheets on my bed–by the end, I was breathing like I had just ran a 5k.

My strength is not found in the cups of coffee every morning, nor in the stability of my walker–but by God’s goodness. His strength is no secret ingredient…it is the ingredient to my life and the reason I live through another day.

Strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord
We will wait upon the Lord
We will wait upon the Lord (x2)

Our God, You reign forever
Our hope, our Strong Deliverer

You are the everlasting God
The everlasting God
You do not faint
You won’t grow weary

You’re the defender of the weak
You comfort those in need
You lift us up on wings like eagles 

“Everlasting God.” Chris Tomlin.


Filed under Adjusting to NF2, Random

In the Kitchen

I think my sister was right: “It is so weird to see you put black olives on your sandwich.” We were at Subway and I was loading my turkey melt with veggies (might I add avocado!!! Yum!) It is a little strange, considering that I spent my childhood trying every possible way to get out eating my veggies at dinner. “They are getting cold,” Mom would say. Truth is, I did that on purpose. They tasted more tolerable when cold.

It was not until after college that I started to eat more outside my normal eating habits–maybe partial roommate influence (positive peer pressure if such an oxymoron exists) and the tumor growing on the 5th nerve causing a decrease in my smell–my view of food changed. No more “plug your nose while you eat…you won’t taste it” sort of fun. This is now my reality. Having no sense of smell changes your eating habits.

Strange though, I can still smell coffee and can tell when there is BBQ cooking. I can taste the seasoning of Mrs. Dash and sea salt if large portions are applied to the food. I noticed I still tasted the ketchup on my potatoes tonight at dinner and the blueberries in my muffin this morning. So not all is lost.

Growing up there were a few vegetables that I disliked the most: beets, asparagus, peas, and acorn squash–but especially asparagus!! We did not eat it often but when we did, it was awful! Fast forward to the year 2010, my roommate was having a birthday potluck/game night at our apartment. I had to work a late night shift, so by the time I got there, food was already served and the game was about to start. I remember walking in and smelling bacon (this is a few months prior tumor growth, so I still had regular smell at this point.) As I get my plate full of food, a friend asks if I want some of what he cooked: asparagus wrapped in bacon. I agree, but winced because I knew I did not like asparagus. As I ate it, I realized the bacon took most of the flavor. If I were a food critic, I would have starred it with a 4 out of 5 stars–only because the taste of asparagus was still not the greatest. That was the last time I had eaten the vegetable.

It might just be that time of year–the garden recipes, grilling tips for your patio parties, fresh “make in minute salads”–and I don’t know how or where asparagus fits in all that, but it has been a reoccurring word ever since I discovered a simple recipe in a book that I finished last week. “I can cook this!!” I said: asparagus, olive oil, sea salt and pepper. Asparagus was on my next shopping list. And it was weird. 🙂

Tonight we decided to put it with dinner: tilapia and potatoes and the asparagus. As I am trying to cut off the end, I am getting frustrated at their stems. “It is like bamboo!!!” Not that I have ever tried bamboo before but I was making a point. Mom suggested the food scissors instead of a knife. Brilliant. This is why I cook with her present in the kitchen! I start spreading the olive oil on with a brush that you use for applying barbecue sauce to your grill meat, while offering my next statement with a laugh: “Painting asparagus!” I had just come from the basement where I had been painting. Guess it was still fresh on my mind.

I add the sea salt and pepper, then it was ready for the oven:


Dinner turned out to be a delicious meal! Best part is, I can now add asparagus to my list of “veggie likes.” I think in part, because I did not taste the “asparagus” taste that had caused me to give a 4 out of 5 stars during the last experience. I chewed and looked outside thinking. “Hmmm, it tastes like green beans to me.” Then I add that I have a list of other vegetables I want to test–first up is eggplant. I cannot guarantee the same positive experience, but it is worth a try. Maybe that is the blessing of losing my sense of smell and altering taste: it takes me out of my eating comfort zone and into a kitchen full of possibilities.

“Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!” Psalm 34:8


Filed under Adjusting to NF2, Family Times, Funny Stories, Paintings, Random, Uncategorized