Wednesday, April 29

Let Me Count the Ways

I recently broke a five-year stint and reentered the world of "people who go to the dentist." Ouch. I'm not that afraid of the dentist or that negligent about dental hygiene, but one thing I have been these past five years--poor and uninsured. Well folks, Mexico is just the cure for that, universal health care and reasonably priced private practitioners and I'm back in the game!

Unfortunately, my leap back onto the scene was not as painless as my bill. Five cavities. Yes, five. One for every year that I have not been to the dentist. Now, once again, I would like to stress that it isn't only on account of my grossness. I brush my teeth at least twice a day, usually thrice. I was told once that the enamel did not form properly on my molars and that is why I am so susceptible to cavities--as this makes me feel better about myself and hygienic practices, I often reiterate it.

Beyond excusing myself of any responsibility and reveling in the low cost of living in Mexico, I have also been reminiscing about my five favorite things I have eaten over the last five years that have contributed to my five rotting teeth. Aaah repetition, what a device.

Ice cream--that category could take up the whole list, but a few of my favorites have been last Labor Day's homemade pistachio (I shelled pistachios for a solid hour and it was very, very worth it), Ted Drewe's concretes, nuez and melon paletas from street vendors here in Miahuatlán, evening visits to Whitey's in Iowa City, and Martha's Grapefruit and Champagne sorbet we made several Christmases ago.

Donuts from Nord's Bakery in Louisville. I can't even explain how often I dream about their caramel krulers (It's what I imagine eating a cherub to be like) or their pecan rolls or their long johns (I didn't even think I liked long johns). My favorite Sunday morning ritual was to walk to Nord's buy two or three donuts and take them next door to the coffee shop for some Guatamalen Antigua and free copies of National Geographic. Ahh living.

Anything made by my grandma--she wasn't able to do a lot of cooking these last five years, but she still rolled out some serious sweets, especially around Christmas (chocolate souffle, almond cookies, buckeyes) and on birthdays when grandchildren received a giant rice crispy cake. I must also mention that she was a stickler about dental hygiene and everyone had a toothbrush at grandma's house--she would not be pleased that I am crediting her for contributing to my five cavities, but everything she made was sooo good I was never able to control myself or want to lose the flavor by a tooth brushing.

Fresh fruit pies--especially peach and raspberry. Every summer, when my mom has either gathered the fruit from her orchard or hunted out all the wild raspberries from every corner of Iowa it is time to visit and eat. She has so many different peach pie recipes too--one baked with cream, one no-bake with a glaze made from more peaches, one with a crumb topping. . .it goes on and on. I never get tired of it (dessert, snack, breakfast, appetizer) and could easily polish off an entire one myself if I didn't have to share.

Swedish Fish--this seems kind of sacrilegious. I know there are a thousand other things I have eaten in the past five years that have been made with love and talent that I should put instead, but the one sweet that keeps popping its red-fishy head up in my mind is Swedish Fish. I just love them. I don't know what it is, they are a weird texture and a very unnatural chemical flavor, but I adore these things, maybe it's something in my Scandinavian blood. Or maybe it is there awesome ad team that came up with "the one thing that sucks about friends is that you can't eat them." My sentiments exactly.
I also feel with the way they stick to my teeth and my fondness of binging on them after binging on other things before falling asleep in college has probably had more of a detrimental effect on my teeth than any of the other things on this list. I may have just had to shell out dough for their handiwork, but I'd shell out some serious pesos for a bag of those bad boys. Mmmmmmm.

To sweets and repeating our mistakes!!!


  1. When I read the first few paragraphs, I literally said out loud, "Swedish fish."

  2. I've been saving giant yogurt containers so I can have several homeade ice cream flavors(pistachio included--I know where to buy them already shelled!) awaiting your return in July!

  3. i can't read your blog anymore.
    it makes me foodsick....
    like homesick but worse.

  4. Sorry Andrew,this is how I cope with my home-food sickness.