After my jaw blog published, many readers have commented asking for an update on how Eating Week went. I’m sorry to disappoint you all, but it was not the Eating Week that I had dreamed of. In fact, I only ate two of the 10 food items on my list. The plan, which was admittedly ambitious, involved going out to eat every night, downing plates of meaty pasta and Spanish tapas. That plan was not a success. I did go to one restaurant, and can confirm it was nice to get back to that familiar ritual, but it also took me nearly 45 minutes to eat half my sandwich.
I got my splint off on Tuesday, and I was so happy for about a half-hour—until I tried to eat for the first time and realized that now my back and side teeth were not touching at all. This is because the splint had been taking up space in between my top and bottom teeth, and without it sitting in the middle, it now felt almost harder to eat! My front teeth could touch, but my surgeon told me to be careful with those teeth and not to bite into anything hard or tough for a while.
After my oral surgeon removed my splint, and I struggled to eat my PBJ sandwich, I went down the hall to my orthodontist appointment. They twisted and tightened my wires so much that I cried twice and kicked the chair. I looked in the mirror and without the splint, it was obvious my upper jaw had been taken apart and rearranged. My two front teeth were now all crooked.
Despite the severe teeth pain (adult orthodontia is really so much worse than preteen) and wonky bite, I decided I would still try to eat the No. 1 item on my list: A Chicago dog.
So the next day, I went to my neighborhood hotdog stand for lunch and ordered a char cheddar dog with everything on it. I knew I should order a steamed dog, because that would be softer and chewier, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I feared ridicule from the hot dog stand employees, people that I had seen judge naive tourists for ordering a steamed dog. I had judged tourists for doing that and have corrected their orders before. A Chicago dog is never steamed!
Anyway, I ended up having to peel the charred skin off my dog and cut the inner dog into tiny pieces in order to actually eat it, but I did it! I also had to avoid the hard pieces of chopped onion, but the rest was delicious. The poppyseed bun, the sliced tomato, the cheese inside the dog melting onto the bun, the fresh relish. This dog was so much better than the closest I’d gotten to a hot dog two weeks earlier, which was when I ordered a plain hot dog bun (without the hot dog) at the Cubs game. (It was free). But my stomach did not enjoy the Chicago Dog, prompting me to try take it easy on greasy food for the rest of the week.
Here’s a list of everything else I ate (or tried to eat) during Eating Week:
- Four popsicles in one sitting (now I can open wide enough to lick a popsicle!)
- Grilled chicken sandwich (my first chicken!)
- Tagalong Girl Scout cookies (these had previously been too hard for me bite into).
- Ritz Crackers (but after six crackers the salt hurt my tongue too bad to continue).
- Turkey meatballs with couscous and broccoli (no more tiny pieces of rice getting stuck! Definitely could not chew the broccoli).
- Angel food muffin
- Peanut butter cookie
- French fries
- Mac and cheese with big noodles! (Had to avoid the stringy chewy cheese layer on top)
- More rice
- Honey lavender scone from the farmer’s market. This is my favorite scone of all time, the scone at which I had gazed longingly a few weeks earlier. I got out of bed at 9 a.m. on a Saturday (too early!!!) to make sure I could get this scone (it’s usually sold out by 10). It took me thirty minutes to eat it, but I did it and it was heavenly.
- Fresh strawberries and raspberries
Much like Fork Friday, my expectations for Eating Week were unrealistic. So I now declare that Eating Week is Eating Month, and I’m hoping after a few days of some bland rice and chicken and riced cauliflower, I’ll be able to get to the juicy burger spot or the new Sicilian street food spot that are left on my list.