Learning That Cooking Requires Head Turning

I learned a lot about my vertigo this week. I learned that cooking requires head turning.

Now, some of you might be saying, “Duh, JR. I could have told you that.” Well, I didn’t think it required as much as it seems to. If you’d asked me before Sunday, I would have said, I didn’t use much of my vestibular system. But, I can tell you now that cooking, or at least the way I cook, I use my vestibular system.

It’s Passover this week. I often call Passover the holiday of eggs. Passover cooking and baking requires twice  (or more!) as many eggs as any other holiday. I baked flourless chocolate tortes (yum!). I hardboiled eggs, and made spinach mushroom kugel, and I think I made other things, but I no longer remember. The Seders on Monday and Tuesday night were wonderful. I was totally worn out on Tuesday. I slept too late to get to the gym on Tuesday morning, and awoke, lurching and staggering. The medicine was of no help. I only realized what caused my decline it was after my nap Tuesday afternoon—all the head turning.

Cooking and baking require head-turning. So does grocery shopping. That’s why I was tired on Sunday afternoon before I started cooking—I had just returned from grocery shopping. But I always—up until now—did the grocery shopping and then cooked for Passover. Maybe not next year!

I did make one great decision on Monday. I emailed Mark and Daughter #1 and told them I could not cut celery and peel eggs in time for us to leave to go to our friends. I needed them to come home earlier to finish preparations so we could leave on time. No problem they said. And they did. I was quite pleased that I was able to ask for help.

I also made a great decision on Tuesday. I realized I was barely walking, I was staggering so badly. I took a nap after lunch. When I awoke, I was walking much better, and that’s when I finally made the connection with the head turning.

I am disappointed that I have discovered that yet one more thing that I enjoy and take pride in is one more thing that challenges my vestibular system. On the other hand, I know how to get around this now. I understand how to spread out the grocery shopping and cooking. I do know how to ask for help. I was sleeping yesterday when one of the tortes needed to be frosted with the chocolate ganache, and Mark did it. Since he is a chemist by training, I can guarantee that we have never had a cake come out of our kitchen that was so evenly frosted as that one! I never frost that evenly! I may have him frost all cakes from now on.

If I look back on the past few days, my days looked a little like this table. I’m counting the help I asked for in the grocery store.

Asking for help Seeing reality Vertigo
6 3 1

I won big these past few days. Yeah, vertigo still has a big win, but I get credit for asking for help and seeing the data. Hmm, maybe I should add a column for not falling apart. I did have a pity party in the shower one morning, but I get to do that.

(Oh, I also learned that if you use erthritol as your only sugar substitute in a flourless chocolate torte, it “seizes” and has the wrong consistency. It tastes fine—a little minty, but fine. It does not have that fudgy consistency. Splenda does provide the consistency you need for the proper mouth feel.)

A lot of learning for three days.

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