Posts filed under ‘food




C U Next… Wednesday?

Before I started Obs & Gynae I was expecting to be thrown out of the consultation room a lot, or be told in the labour ward that the patient doesn’t want any students. Luckily this didn’t happen and the vast majority of women I saw were happy to have a student present. Come sprog time, I’d definitely consider having a student midwife or doctor present; I’m the type of person that does better with continuity (and lots of attention), and in the last delivery I followed, I was there from the beginning to the end: in that time, there were four midwives handing over.

It was also nice to feel useful for once (Protestant ethic, much?) whether it was helping out the anaesthetist (who very kindly did some one-on-one teaching with me), fetching towels, changing linen, doing basic observations, fanning down the mother (and father) during transition, dressing the baby, getting it latched on and making cups of tea. Some of my collegues were really offended by stuff like this – they wanted to see the labour and deliveries and how dare anyone ask a medical student to make a cup of tea – which I guess is fair enough if this isn’t the speciality you want, and you just want to get to grips with the basics. I like to feel useful, simple. My grandmother constantly told me as a child in Italian, “Do your schoolwork, do your homework, then come and help with the housework.” Maybe it’s less of the Protestant ethic and more of the Italian Catholic grandma factor.

Anyway, the reason I really wanted to post was that seeing a lot of women in that context made me realise that it was about time I stop using every excuse in the book in terms of keeping everything tidy in the vicinity. Before I met B, I used to live about 7 minutes away from Selfridges, and behind the store was a rather awesome beauty salon which did really good waxing. I’d see Otylia, a Polish lady in her 50s who could get me done in about 10 minutes while discussing matters concerning her boyfriend. After meeting B and moving to Sarf London rather quickly, out of sight and out of mind, I forgot about it. It came to August and I decided to venture into Clapham to find somewhere cheaper for the Hollywood treatment.

I found a salon and waited in the rather odd paper pants they had given me. To my naive horror, I then realised that the wax was going to be done with strips and not the hot wax I had been used to. Needless to say that pain was excruciating and the hair wasn’t coming away well enough, cue more wax and more stripping. The woman who was waxing me told me halfway through that she was very inexperienced with Brazilian waxing and that they offered the waxes as they knew they were very popular among women. Probably not the kind of thing you should tell a client. The wax itself took about 40 minutes, half of the hair was still there (putting my narcissistic hat on, after waxing I would always touch myself more, not even for masturbation, it just felt ever so nice.) by which time I resolved not to look at the damage for at least a fortnight. Suffice to say, it was enough to put me off having it done for a good [whisper] 2 years [/whisper]

Recently, I decided to have a little image makeover, starting with my cunt (not the kind of feature you’d see on Phil and Fern). A very lucky find bought me to Holborn where a very cheerful Essex girl defuzzed me in 10 minutes with minimal fuss and pain. I spent the rest of the evening at home with my hands down my pants. In addition to this,  I have been thinking about getting a vertical hood piercing, although I’m still umming and ahhing over it. It’s an area I consider to be pretty and pink – do I want a piece of metal going through there?

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After a very painful recovery from last week’s gym session, I had mustered up the courage to go back to start with Turbulence Training for abs. Cept I had forgotten that my gym was closed this week to install new cardio equipment. Which is fair I guess, they had put in new weight equipment last year. Somehow I can’t see kettlebells on the agenda anytime soon. Think I may as well bite the bullet at and get some of my own.

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Baking my own bread is proving dangerous. I’m making a wholemeal loaf later on, and made a lovely onion and pancetta focaccia on Tuesday. It had disappeared by Wednesday, and I can’t blame B or the flatmate for that.

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Add comment February 19, 2009

Nights

I haven’t slept since Wednesday night and I’m kinda enjoying the buzz that’s coming with it. Although the feeling I’m getting could have been due to being utterly floored by witnessing a shoulder dystocia during one of the births I saw in the early hours this morning. The registrar looked so cool and composed, even with the sound of, “Doctor, it has been 2 minutes now.” I on the other hand, felt like a complete tool, the midwives were talking to me but they could have been speaking the language of planet Zog, it wouldn’t have made a difference.

Despite the shock of that, mother & baby (and father) were ok. I think I needed a stiff drink.

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Blood oranges are in season again, yay! Flatmate has recommended a blood orange jelly with orange pieces and a dollop of lemon curd on top.

Add comment February 6, 2009

White powder found in London

Just when I was hoping for a nice and quiet week, a shitload of snow gets dumped in London and across the country. B and I thought it would be a good idea to try snowboarding in the carpark. The slope wasn’t steep enough but it was fun enough trying.

Thought it would be a good idea to make a soup with the cavolo nero I picked up in the market. Must admit I’m a bit skeptical about cabbage based soups; they conjure up images of faddy diets and bad gas. I’ve seen several recipes but I think I’m going to stick with this one from Veg Box Recipes as I have some butter beans bouncing around in the cupboard and I can’t really be bothered going out on the high street looking for pancetta.

Add comment February 2, 2009

Salsif-eye or salsif-eee?

Reasons to smile:

Big snowflakes at the farmer’s market this morning. Leaving and seeing a random guy out in his boxer shorts giving the weather a raised eyebrow.

The mysterious appearance of a large toy alien in the entrance lobby of our building.

Smugly making our own coffee than popping out to get some.

The feeling of cutting a garlic bulb in half and sticking the whole lot in the oven.

Picking out the perfect bottle of Riesling. (German, I have a sweet tooth when it comes to wine)

Landlord agreeing to rent reduction!

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Salsify is a pain in the arse to wash, peel and prepare. It’s also very sticky, but no one tells you that (rather like the Things That No One Tells You About Childbirth). Luckily it’s a joy to cook and devour. Pan-roasted in olive oil = win.

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Since being in Obs & Gobs, a lot of people have asked me about the numbers of men in the field, and what could possibly attract them to it, revealing the horror that they could possibly be turned on by it? Answer – I’m a bisexual woman – there is nothing to be turned on by in gynaecology. Staring inside someone’s vagina trying to visualise their cervix is as mundane as filling in prescription forms by hand – maybe mundane is the wrong word. It could just be me, but I have a hard time getting aroused by simply staring at someone’s genitalia in the cold harsh light of day.

I remember the sweet irony of reading on a feminist site (from a feminist) that a lot of men are attracted to ob/gyn – not because of teh patriarchy – but because it’s ‘easy’. Here’s a cluepon – think about all of general medicine as applied to women, the diseases, the meds, and throw a pregnancy into the mix. Bet cardiology isn’t looking too bad now, eh?

Add comment February 1, 2009

“Freedom is deciding whose slave you want to be”

I am still having issues with the fact that I qualify as a doctor next year. For so long the prospect of qualification was a blip on the horizon and life as a student drowned away any potential musings on the subject. Except now, it’s real and I’m constantly thinking about deaneries, paying off debt and if it’s what I really want to do.

I have danced with the idea of going to law school, essentially a year of rote learning – could I even deal with that after medical finals? I have thought about doing courses in journalism, or teaching scuba diving somewhere in the pretty pacific. All these ideas have given me some degree of comfort about the uncertainty of what I want to do. Except something happened. Obs/gynae happened, and as I predicted; I am absolutely loving it. This is despite the looks of horror I am getting from staff members as if I’m suggesting I like to self-flagellate before breakfast each morning. If I had hated obs & gynae, it would have secured my decision to eventually leave medicine, but on the contrary, it has made me think – horror of horrors – that I would enjoy being a doctor, and a hospital doctor at that.

I had assumed that once I got to the stage of qualifying, I would feel less constricted by my career choice, but as it seems now, the handcuffs are getting tighter. B often tells me to close my eyes and think of what I’d enjoy doing the most, but my subconscious distracts me with food and fond memories of previous sexual encounters.

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To curb my anxieties, I have been collecting discounted cookbooks from a bookshop in Lambeth North. As the flatmate says, “You can never have too many cookbooks.” I am determined to eat more seasonal fruit and veg and I am trying to make the most of the autumn/winter harvest. The tiny greengrocers on the high road is in abundance of Jerusalem artichokes, blood oranges and salsify. I made a rather delicious soup with some Jerusalem artichokes and white truffle oil, which I sat down and consumed while watching some dismal cooking on Masterchef ensue.

Hat tip to a certain cheese sandwich; B got me the Decadent Cookbook for our anniversary. As well as recipes there are some very interesting stories and information on cooking techniques e.g. how to prepare a dog for slaughter – not sure how the RSPCA would feel about that one. (For the interested, a dog should be tied up for 24 hours, and beaten with small sticks to get the adipose tissue moving.)

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Another hat-tip, but I am immensely enjoying “Family,” a web series sit-com about a MFM triad based in Seattle. The clips are short and I’m finding them highly entertaining.

1 comment January 28, 2009

“Accrington stanley? Who are they?!”

I don’t live on copious amounts of milk, but I have decided it’s probably a good idea to self-wean off cow’s breastmilk. Reasons for this are two-fold:

1) I get very bloated and gassy when drinking it

2) I have weird fetishy images in my head regarding people dressed in rubber, odd trance music and cows udders.

I’m not a huge fan of soy milk, so I ventured out and bought some hazelnut milk, and almond milk (the latter at the bottom of my cupboard for now). I quite enjoyed the hazelnut milk, it’s very sweet and the texture was smooth. Bit of an odd aftertaste, but I’m hooked for now. Even better, B tried the milk and didn’t like it, which is good for me as I’ll actually have milk to drink from now on, and it won’t be drunk straight from the pack 🙂

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I’m avoiding the gym this January as I cannot face the crowds of resolutionaries. I know it keeps my gym membership fee low, but it’s too much to bear. I have decided to try the 100-push-up challenge, as my medical school are sending me to what feels like Zone 25 for the first 4 weeks of Obs/Gynae anyway, and it’ll give me something to do besides work.

Add comment January 6, 2009

What is healthy anyway?

I like to think I live a reasonably good lifestyle, but I think the constant bombardment of messages telling us to be healthy could potentially be… well, unhealthy. I think the UK has a bipolar relationship with food, and the pendulum is about to swing in a direction that could cultivate a potentially damaging relationship with it, moreso than there already is at least. I have a lot of respect for Jamie Oliver trying to encourage people to learn how to cook, but I think the TV chefs of the world have done things the wrong way round.

I noticed a lot of this healthy eating drive gained a lot of momentum when there was talk on television shows of buying eggs from happy chickens and eating meat only from animals have been raised in the utmost optimal of conditions, and to do otherwise was tantamount to animal abuse. This message had been lingering in the background for a while, but it has only come into the spotlight in the past year or so. If people who had no idea how to cook and were living on take-aways everynight – had they been taught the absolute basics first, learning to cook and more importantly, enjoying it – then critiquing where our food comes from and how it’s produced would have come later. Give a man a fish yadda yadda yadda. I just don’t see the point of telling someone the beauty of a hardback when they can’t read, then bollocking them when they choose to watch TV instead.

I don’t want to get into a debate on the socio-economics over mass production of meat, the giant supermarkets or free range eggs, I think I wanted to draw on a point that I mentioned ages of blog posts ago, and that was how we seem to moralise our behaviour in food choices. I was at my mum’s place a few weeks ago, and offered her a couple of biscuits I had made. “Oooh, I don’t know if I should, that would be very naughty!” Now if my mum’s diet consisted of processed foods, high in sugar and modified fats etc, perhaps I would have understood. But my mum eats a variety of lean meats, fish, fruit and vegetables grown in her garden, pulses and wholewheat products. Yet still she has conditioned herself to behave like a mischievous child when presented with something that falls out of her perception of ‘healthy’. Something ain’t right with that.

Not that I blame her, or my friends who do it either. Women especially are told about the consequences of giving into ‘tempation’ and how ‘naughty’ certain foodstuffs are. Diet products are now gearing towards a snack shaped hole in the market, not content with giving people crappy tasting meals, now they have to worry about chowing down (and spending money on) crappy tasting snacks – as if the desire to snack is inherently bad – I think it’s perfectly ok and normal to have a snack between meals – listening to your body saying, “Hello, some food in here please!” is a step in the right direction.

So behaviour towards food isn’t necessarily in great shape, yet now we’re being told to step up a gear in the healthy stakes, being kindly shown on packaging what the nutritional breakdown is – in traffic light form, how quaint – and how to feed our family good meals on budgets etc. Not that this is necessarily a bad thing, but it can become a huge preoccupation, bordering on obsession. Don’t believe me? Have a discussion with the mother of a toddler about Petit Felous, a controversy that I never knew existed.

I watched Dana, the 8 year old anorexic last night, and while her story is an extreme one, it shows how thought processes can go wrong, despite the ‘healthy’ messages around us. For some of the people she was being treated at the clinic at, it started with cutting out chocolates, sweets etc entirely, then changes eventually lead to things like jumping up and down on the spot for exercise when exercise equipment was taken away. One of the women who runs the clinic said people are now being saturated with messages about healthy this, low-fat that, no carb this, that we potentially run the risk of damaging generations to come.

I’m not trying to put forth the message that it’s a big slippery slope; what I’m trying to ask is: is a diet and lifestyle that ticks all the right boxes always going to be healthy? We perceive what is healthy on different levels too, so it’s difficult to set a standard, but my bottom line is that a healthy attitude towards food, exercise etc is sometimes more important than what’s going in. If you’re eating well most of the time, and you want to have a slice of chocolate cake once in a while, for goodness sake, have it! You will not gain 5lbs overnight for a single slice! It does not make you bad, it should not be a temptation, you don’t have to modify recipes to make your favourite thing, ‘healthy’. Let them eat cake!

Add comment October 3, 2008

Yay!

I am now in possession of a slow cooker, thanks to my mum and her everlasting mantra of, “I was just in Robert Dyas and thought of you.” I am terribly excited by this because it means I can prepare my supper the night before, throw it all into the pot in the morning and come home to a delicious casserole. I have to start my revision programme this week so the timing has been good (and the fact that the weather is getting colder, so snuggling up on the sofa with a bowl of comfort sounds inviting).

Gourmet Nutrition has a couple of slow cooking dishes to try out, one is a lamb chili, the other is a venison stew. I didn’t get the chance to get to the butcher this weekend, but they always seem to have venison in the shop. Now if I can just get over the thought of eating Bambi.

Add comment September 28, 2008

“I will burn for you, feel pain for you”

I was preparing a butterbean/runnerbean salad for supper to the sound of #1 Crush by Garbage. The song is particularly bittersweet for me as it marked a dark time in my life during my A levels where I had hit rock bottom. All my teachers thought I was a foregone conclusion. I remember my form tutor saying to me, “I don’t know what else to say. I am very sorry.” My politics teacher talked to me about the pressure young women put on themselves and that I’m only hurting myself by putting myself down, oblivious to the fact that in the height of summer I was wearing a long black cardigan hiding the bandages which in turn were hiding the fresh cuts on my arms.

I digress, I still absolutely love the song. I was preparing some garlic to add to a simple dressing and the knife slipped (not exactly what most prospective doctors would admit) and I cut my thumb just under my nail bed.

For a split second, I thought about what would happen if I dipped my thumb into the lemon-based dressing. After a momentary lapse, I realised that the thought didn’t appeal at all. Possibly an indicator that I’m ready to explore the small sadistic side rumbling in my psyche. Or (more likely) I didn’t want to ruin a perfectly good dressing.

Add comment July 14, 2008

Jumping through hoops

Feminists: look away now!

One symptom (or sign?) of looming exams that I suffer from is that I suddenly want to get back into the kitchen. During long revision sessions I procrastinate by thinking of new utensils I’d like to go and buy, recipes I’d like to try and ignoring the ‘instinct’ that’s telling me to abandon any career plans and go somewhere warm and comforting. Or perhaps being in biomedicine is the best thing for me, after all, “Let food be your medicine…”

So… on my list of the ‘post-exam kitchen retreat’ includes:

* buying beautiful glass containers for me to store whole grain items

* bulk cooking several recipes from ‘Indian cooking made easy’

* explore my family history and delve further into Sicilian cooking. I don’t know what my dad’s favourite dish was, the anniversary of his death is coming up so now will be a good time to start.

Sigh. It seems like the light at the end of a tunnel is a pin-prick. Not that I want it to go too quickly. I should go and do some surgical revision.

1 comment July 6, 2008

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