Happy Thanksgiving all!
I love reading what people are having for their Thanksgiving meals. Generally, it all sounds so good, I want to make that too! So please share below.
But this year, as last, our menu must accommodate a stroke victim who still suffers from some dysphagia.
What is dysphagia, many may ask? Well, according to aphasia.org:
Dysphagia is a disorder described as a regular difficulty swallowing or moving food and liquids from the mouth to the stomach.
This is opposed to dysphasia, which is a speech disorder. However, both can be common after a stroke, which is why a speech therapist is the one who usually administers swallow tests. The anatomy for speaking and swallowing is very much related.
Depending on the type and location of a stroke, some people cannot swallow at all. Sometimes the ability to swallow can be regained partially or fully. One of the typical types of partial swallowing ability is the ability to be able to swallow thickened liquids and soft, pureed foods.
And that’s where we are!
So everything on our menu is made to have a soft texture, with not a lot of food bits that can get stuck somewhere in the throat. Except the turkey. But it was fine last year with the way I did the turkey (brined overnight and then in the pressure cooker). It was moist, and, cut very small and ingested in very small bites, was able to be chewed to the correct consistency and successfully swallowed.
We tend to like to have a more “traditional” Thanksgiving menu. Fortunately, that lends itself well to a lot of soft food options. I always like to have something turkey, something potato, something corn, something cranberry, and something pumpkin, as well as gravy and some sort of stuffing (or dressing if you like. Please, no stuffing vs. dressing wars!).
So here’s our menus.
- Pumpkin Crepes — With pumpkin cream cheese and cranberry puree
- Pomegranate Mimosas — Thickened with SimplyThick (a magic but not cheap liquid that can thicken anything, hot or cold, without any discernible change in taste. You can even have wine and beer, but ya gotta let the beer get a little flat first. Or it’s a foamy mess).
- 3lb Turkey Breast — Brined and pressure cooked with rosemary, thyme, sage, garlic, and onion.
- Mashed potatoes and gravy — From KFC! Saves me time and perfect for people with dysphagia.
- Sweet Potato — Can’t decide whether to go more sweet, like brown sugar-cinnamon, or more savory, like onion-sage. But no marshmallows. While delicious, those sticky things are a throat menace.
- Corn Souffle — Recipe has creamed corn and regular canned corn, but is pulverized in a blender with cream cheese and evaporated milk, and has a very smooth texture.
- Stuffing — Yeah, I’m doing Stove Top (for Pork, for no reason I can think of) and will add extra water and/or Kerrygold butter to make it extremely moist.
- Ginger Orange Cranberries — If you boil them long enough, they mush up and it creates its own sauce, soft enough to be swallowed easily. The ginger is Da Bomb in this recipe.
- Pumpkin Ice Cream Parfait — With whipped cream and some of those cranberries.
- Key Lime Pie — A tradition in the family going back many years. Hey, it’s Florida.
That’s it! Share yours below, whether dysphagia-friendly or not. Share any hints and tips, let’s just have some fun. Happy Happy Thanksgiving!
Updated with Recipes and Links
Had a couple of requests for recipes, so here are a few.
Corn Souffle — depending on your person, you may need to really, really, really pulverize that canned corn. Probably could also make it with two cans of creamed corn, but I haven’t tried that, might need to cut down on some of the other wet ingredients in that case.
Pumpkin Crepes and Pumpkin Cream Cheese — again, how you cook and serve depends on what your person can do, but generally, don’t overcook the crepes. Keep ‘em nice and soft, spread a little of the cream cheese on them, and cut them into bite sized .. er, bites.
You can drizzle cranberry puree on the crepes after making the cranberry recipe below and setting aside a portion of it to run through a blender, immersion blender, small chopper, magic bullet, whatever you have that purees.
Ginger Cranberry Sauce
16 oz. fresh cranberries, picked over and rinsed
2 cups granulated sugar
½ cup water
½ cup fresh orange juice
1 tbsp finely chopped ginger [note: I use same amount of ginger paste from a tube]
finely grated zest from 1 orange
1. Combine all of the ingredients in a heavy saucepan. Cook over medium heat until the berries pop open, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat [cook longer if you need to have a less lumpy texture. You can always take the potato masher to it if needed to break up any still too large berries]
2. Skim foam off the surface with a metal spoon and discard. Cool to room temperature. Refrigerate, covered, for up to 3 months. [seriously, the stuff lasts that long]
Serves 10. Per serving: 180 calories, 47g carbs. No fat, protein, or cholesterol.
(Recipe found in Parade magazine, Nov. 16th, 2008 — anyone remember Parade magazine?)