Wednesday, July 19, 2017

comfort in bed

I used to dream about spending the day in bed.

And not sleeping. Just spending the day reading, watching movies, reading a good book or two, writing. That sort of thing. Maybe dozing off now and then.

And, of course, eating.

But, like most things we claim to want, there is little joy in the getting.

To fight back this recent cellulitis invasion, my doctor has imposed a Maginot line of mandatory bed rest -- with the accompanying threat that if I do not acquiesce, he will plop me in a Manzanillo hospital. (He won't. He would lose the steady stream of my pesos when he could no longer sell me drugs from his pharmacy.)

So, here (and I do mean "here" because I have set up my Mexpatriate communication center on my bed) I am. Laid out on sheets like Imhotep awaiting wrapping and entombment. And I have been rather good at staying put. With the exception of my frequent bathroom trips, courtesy of the often-disturbing medication side effects inserted in the pill carton, and forays to the kitchen to keep myself from starving.

I am not starving, And that is a problem.

When I started my walking regimen, I also cut out some foods and reduced the portions of others. Snack foods were out. Carbohydrates were controlled. I even experimented with salads. Whenever I got hungry, I would go for a walk.

But the bed-ridden cannot rely on exercise to defeat food urges. So, I have been surrendering to my greatest vice. Enjoying food.

There is a relatively new bakery/delicatessen about three blocks from my house. La Tanda by name. Run by an affable Canadian couple -- Chris and Irwin.  They sell what one would expect -- banana bred, rye loaves, white dinner rolls, pretzels, muffins, sour dough bread, cinnamon rolls. Five days a week (they are closed on Tuesday and Wednesday), I receive an email in the morning telling me what will be available that day.

They also serve breakfast and lunch. I particularly like their roast beef sandwiches. But I may have a new favorite.

On Sunday, Irwin wrote he would be making shepherd's pie the next day, and anyone interested could place an order by noon. Now, you need to know that shepherd's pie is one of my favorite comfort foods. I still remember the pub just outside of Oxford where I had my first bite. I never knew meat, potatoes, and vegetables could taste like that.

Now, whenever given the opportunity, I order it. Thanks to the guidance of Hillary, my erstwhile tutor of things English, I also know that there is a big difference between shepherd's pie and cottage pie. Shepherd's pie is made with lamb; cottage pie is made with beef. And I like both varieties.

On my drive to the doctor on Monday morning, I picked up my order. When I returned home, I dug in.

Usually, shepherd's pie is best accompanied by another quintessential British treat -- HP sauce. There is really nothing like it in the United States. The closest I can come is to compare it to a slightly sweeter and tarter version of A1 sauce. The British I know put it on almost everything. But my larder was devoid of HP.

It is just as well. Irwin's was one of the best shepherd's pie (actually cottage; it was made with beef) I have ever eaten. Every element had retained its own particular flavor and texture (mashed potatoes; ground beef; carrots, peas, and corn), but also blended perfectly. I almost felt as if I were back at Hopcroft Holt.

And, yes. I know if I keep eating like this, my last two years of walking and cutting back on what I eat will have been for naught. But, a healing man needs to send love to his injured parts.

Shepherd's pie may or may not do that. But it is certainly good in bed.

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