Sentenced to boredom. Now what?

tabascoToday an otolaryngologist informed me that acid reflux is the irritant that’s underneath me clearing my throat incessantly for the last thirty or forty years. There’s nothing else wrong with my throat. Just this one irritated part.

I told the doc the throat irritation was hindering my quality of life. She got it. Then she prescribed a cure that may be worse that the disease.

The doc told me to give up alcohol, caffeine, spicy food, and acidic foods like citrus fruit and marinara sauce. For at least a couple of months.

The question coursing through my brain is whether the resultant bland life would be worth living. Oh, boy, bananas and pablum ahead! Let’s get dull! (I crave sensual stimulation.)

How much do I like spicy foods?

logoA lithograph of a Tabasco bottle hangs on my office wall in tribute to the holy pepper sauce. I made a pilgrimage to Avery Island in Louisiana to visit the factory and the birthplace of the red hot condiment. Tabasco is a staple. Gallons. I own eight Tabasco ties!

redpepperIt doesn’t stop there. The red pepper flakes on my dining table see more use than our salt or pepper grinders. Can’t imagine pizza without pepper flakes. Or cauliflower. Or many tofu dishes. Or chili. Or any dish that can benefit from being perked up a bit.


In Europe, I searched delicatessens for tubes of harissa, the fiery Tunisian condiment from Cap Bon, finally finding it in a gourmet shop somewhere between the Piazza Novara and the Castelo. A little dab rewires the sinus passages. Henri Cartier-Bresson always carried a tube of harissa in his pocket.

I’ll need to investigate what foods are behind (underneath?) gastric reflux syndrome.  I crave sharp, stimulating tastes. Anchovies. Roquefort. Chartreuse. I pray that some are on the acid-reflux okay list. Expect to see some weird recipes ahead.

juraCaffeine is an easy give

Since we acquired a super-simple Jura coffee maker, I’ve been downing a couple of Americanos every morning.

In Italy last month, I’d start with a cappuccino because that’s what one does. In the UK, I’d have a cuppa’. In the Netherlands, I would do without.  I think I can put coffee aside for a couple of months without much thought.

[of course, to be continued]

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