In February, I had a bit of a setback with my health. I accidentally swallowed a piece of steamed broccoli that was too big for my throat and it didn’t go down. We don’t have health insurance so I figured that, rather than go to the emergency room and have it removed, I could tough it out and eventually it would go down on its own. This it did do, but not until it created a serious inflammation in both my throat and the rest of my digestive tract. I have been unable to swallow any solid food ever since then. After undergoing several tests, it was determined that I have “diminished peristalsis”. This means that the muscles in my throat don’t contract sufficiently to move the food down my throat and into my stomach.
It’s been just about six months since the broccoli got stuck in my throat and I’m starting to get the hang of preparing food that I can swallow and that isn’t utterly depressing. But no salads for me now. No raw veggies right out of the garden. Which kind of sucks. I also am finding that my throat can’t tolerate a lot of foods, even when they are turned to mush, that I used to have no problem with. Foods like spinach, Swiss chard, beets and beet greens, and most other foods of that nature cause my throat to swell up and constrict.
My hope is that this will correct itself with time, but it does take some of the fun out of growing foods that I can’t eat. I’m going to keep growing them for now though, for one, because my husband can still eat them and also, because I just like growing them.
One of the foods that I most love to have in the garden (which in previous gardens tended to want to take over the garden with no help from me) is lamb’s quarters
I think Lamb’s Quarters is probably my favorite green to eat. I like to cook it in a big frying pan with fresh tomatoes from the garden, some olive oil, bread crumbs, Pecorino Romano cheese (Parmesan is also good if you can tolerate cow’s milk), garlic, and some fresh rosemary and thyme, or basil and thyme. This is also something that I will not be able to eat until my throat gets better.
But the blessing is that for the first time since I’ve been gardening here in this part of the Carolinas, Lamb’s Quarters have decided to be a part of the garden. I had come to the conclusion that it just doesn’t live around here because it had been so ubiquitous in other garden locations, and I had not seen even one plant in more than five years here in this location. But this year three Lamb’s Quarters plants have chosen to grace my garden with their presence, and for this I am thankful. Even though I can’t eat them now, I am treating them as guests of honor in the garden and when they go to seed, I will collect the seeds to plant next year, when I hope to have a whole row of them. And maybe by that time I will even be able to eat them.