We received a surprise message from Mom’s care facility late last week that they were reinstating visits. My dad and I were so excited! It would be the first time in about a month that we’d be going to see her. We’d been in touch via video chat and we’d sent a family photo to the home for Israel’s Family Day, but nothing can compare to visits in person. We still weren’t sure if they’d allow us physical contact, though.
Indeed, when we arrived, we were restricted to the other end of a long table. I stood up most of the visit, just so excited to see Mom and to sing with her. She seemed to be in a bad mood at first but we quickly dispelled that with our overly enthusiastic (and atonal) singing. The staff member who had been assigned to Mom for the duration of our visit couldn’t believe how lively she was.
Part of my goal was to photograph Mom’s teeth so that I could send the pictures to a dentist we’d contacted who has agreed to visit Mom in her facility. We need an assessment of how her teeth are doing before we can decided if she needs more care. First, we set some ground rules with the head nurse. There can be absolutely no coercion used on Mom during the examination. Meaning, we’ll have to charm her into opening her mouth. We also agreed that based on the state of her teeth, we will have to decide whether to pursue dental care or forgo it altogether due to the complications of treating her.
If, as my dad suspects, her issue is very black teeth, it’s probably because Mom won’t let the staff brush her teeth consistently. I have this idea rattling around in the back of my head to have the staff play a particular song each morning that might get her in the mood to brush. If you’ve never heard the Toothbrush song, you’re in for a treat. Mom taught it to me when I was very little, and it’s one we love to sing together. It even inspired me to write a poem once.
I keep looking at the calendar and realizing that it is almost Mom’s birthday. The only present I’d like to give her—and receive in return—is a huge hug. I’ve decided to bombard the director of the care facility with my request until she uncharacteristically gives in.
I’m not sure that my hug campaign is going to work. We are still living in such unpredictable times, though evidence of the vaccine’s effectiveness is gaining press as more in-depth studies on Israel’s vaccinated population are released.
To hug or not to hug. I can only hope.
On the cooking front, I have made a decision to stay away from dairy products for the next few weeks. I’m pretty certain that the mild lactose intolerance I’ve felt over the years has for some reason blossomed into something worse. I want to see if removing milk products from my diet has an impact on my digestive system. No more quiche or milky coffee or tuna melts with cheddar cheese. Thankfully, there are so many other amazing foods out there. Tofu, for example.
Baked Tofu Bites*
This tofu dish is enhanced by using nutritional yeast. I’ve known about nutritional yeast (or its almost twin brewer’s yeast) for a long time, but we were recently reintroduced to it here in Israel by our very own brew master Neil Churgin of Beertzinut Serious Brewing, who sprinkles it on his amazing popcorn. (And his beers are amazing, too!)
2 blocks 350 grams / 12 oz tofu, cubed
¼ cup nutritional yeast
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp garlic powder
Preheat oven to 375° F / 190° C. In a large bowl, mix nutritional yeast, oil, soy sauce and garlic powder. Toss in tofu cubes and coat evenly. Spread tofu cubes on a baking sheet lined with baking paper. Bake for 15 minutes, remove from oven, turn cubes and bake for another 15 minutes until golden brown. Serve on a bed of rice and vegetables.
Great recipe, found right here.
Photo by Liora Green