Thursday, October 25, 2007

The comforts of home...

The palms of her soft, warm hands cradling my face, our noses two inches apart, “you want some nana eggs?” she says in that soothing, caring voice as she pushes my tangled, matted hair out of my face. The faint, yet familiar scent of make-up and soap brings comfort to my soul. I shake my head, gingerly, up and down, “thanks mom”.

As she exits, I start the process of sitting up - this is going to take a while. Pains shoot through my abdomen. Sharp, stabbing pain, raw pain, pains that, unless you have had major abdominal surgery, you, oh fortunate reader, will never quite comprehend. I pull myself up with the help of the bedpost behind me. Exhausting. I close my eyes and take a few deep breaths, the doctor says I should begin feeling better in a few days.

Like a saint, she re-enters the room, awash in a heavenly glow of morning sunlight. Behold. There are times in life when even a grown woman really just needs her mommy and her mommy’s cooking – and this is definitely one of those times. She places the tray on a pillow on my lap. The tray, a tropical motif of bamboo and palm leaves reminds me of travel - incentive to get well. On the tray sits square, saffron colored plate adorned with a bright Mexican motif around the rim in turquoise and red. A single egg, steamed in lemon juice and dried mint glistens at the center, toasted whole-wheat pita bread off to the side, butter melting between its crusty layers. The toast, a perfect accoutrement for sopping up the last remaining drips of yolk, lemon juice and olive oil.

Perhaps the hospital serves such crappy food as incentive to get people to leave. The previous four days while I was in the hospital, I dreamed of Nana Eggs while I suffered through institutional white trays with institutional white and institutionally boring food. The Styrofoam bowls of steaming, sodium-laden “mystery soup” and Cream of Wheat sagged in misery. The usually quivering, dancing Jell-O, the only hope for color and happiness lay motionless in defeat. Nothing had any flavor - unless overly salty and corn syrupy sweet could be considered 'flavor'. But now, my taste buds would be redeemed. Using a sharp corner of toast, I break the top of my Nana Egg and its golden yolk oozes out. Mom says, “is that ok, honey?”. Uh-huh, I shake my head. “Mom?”, she pauses at the door, “would you make tabouleh and stuffed grape leaves one day?”. “Would that make you feel better, honey?”, she replies, her eyes filled with motherly love. Uh-huh, I look up at her with puppy dog eyes. “I’ll make them tomorrow”. Maybe my recovery could take just a little bit longer...

Nana Eggs:
*Nana is the Lebanese word for mint!

2 fresh eggs
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 Teaspoon Dried Mint
(This recipe is best with dried mint, rather than fresh. It also works especially well with Za’atar. If using Za’atar, use 2 teaspoons)
Sea Salt

Pita Toast and Butter

Crush dried mint between fingers and add to bowl containing fresh lemon juice. Add a small pinch of sea salt.

In a small, non-stick pan on medium heat, add olive oil. When pan is warm, crack both eggs gently into pan. Just as whites begin to turn opaque and sputter, add lemon juice and mint mixture and quickly cover pan with lid. Turn heat to a simmer. Allow eggs to cook until they reach desired firmness. About 2 to 3 minutes for soft, runny yolks.

Remove lid, yolks should be white, but quiver at the touch. Turn onto a plate and serve with toasted pita bread. Salt and pepper to taste.

UPDATE: Without going into too much detail, but for those that know me - I had a cancer scare. But I got the update from the Doc and all is clean. I can breathe easy and focus on getting well...


tammy said...

i'm so glad you're home from the hospital, on your way to recovery, on your way to resuming your grand adventures, and back to blogging......

Zora said...

Welcome back to the real world! Hospital food is indeed ha cruel, cruel joke.

I always thought poached eggs were the cure for all ills--so I bet these Lebanese treats work at 150%. I will have to give them a try very soon.

KID LITTLE said...

Hey lady,

Hope you are doing well. I had my appendix taken out a long time ago so I feel a little of your pain. If you need something boring to read to pass the time check out

If you need anything from 3000 miles away let me know.

your favorite pastry chef

prcrstn8 said...

Whooaaa, welcome back!

Here's a time-waster for you while you're recuperating, a website I stumbled across - gutsy, gorgeous photos of industrial decay. No, it's not my website, I only wish I took photos like this:

Enjoy, and get well fast.

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