Toil and trouble; or cold and tired

It was a terrible night’s sleep because I couldn’t breath through my nose. Generally, the first thought is to ask whether this is the start of a cold or the flu. (And why is it A cold and THE flu, as if it’s any old cold but it’s the actual flu?)

However, the reason could be less complicated (or more complicated, depending on what happens next!). Did I eat something unexpected yesterday?

Sometimes I don’t even get that far. Sometimes, it’s obvious. When I did it, I knew exactly what I was doing and what the result would be, and did it anyway.

My eosinophilic esophagitis (EOE or EE) is triggered by grain products – some grain products, not all. If I were to have a hayfever reaction when standing in a farmer’s field, then I’m better off not eating whatever’s growing there.

Now, it’s a sliding scale. A little bit is usually not a problem. However, it’s best to avoid piling lots of “little bits” on top of each other in a single day. These plant-based ingredients are everywhere. Just today, I discovered that the shaker bottle of Cajun seasoning contains rice flour.

So, what happened?

My problem, the actual problem, is that I love going to markets and treating myself to bottle and jars of specialty seasonings. No, that’s not the actual problem; we should be supporting these local endeavours.

On the shelf at the moment are the quick go-tos. Shaker bottles producing a fine mist of sweet or tangy … or earthy flavours, delicately wafted (or not so delicately!) after the meal comes out of the microwave.

Lined up on the bottom shelf of the fridge are the refrigerate-after-opening jars; a lovely one I picked up at the Forbes markets, made by Franklin Road Preserves – eggplant, onion, ginger, garlic, vinegar, sugar, chilli, spices, olive oil and salt. Is there anything it’s missing? The aroma could be a meal in itself!

There are the bottles of assorted vinegars and balsamics. I just pulled one from the fridge – a sticky balsamic with a hint of orange – and discovered the label says “DO NOT REFRIGERATE”, in capital letters. I really should read the labels.

Aside from label ignorance, the problem when it all boils down is that I don’t test them before using in a batch of casseroles to be popped in the freezer.

Cooking is a creative act with recipes only a brief guiding hand. A concoction of vegetables in a broth or sauce is exactly that – a concoction. Throw into the pot some yummy seasoning, taste as you go, add a bit more of this, a bit more of that until immensely satisfying. Double double toil and trouble. When I pull a tub from the freezer, I have no idea what seasonings I used for that batch. So, I don’t know what caused the latest stuff up.

The plan now is to test a new seasoning before letting it into the kitchen. Testing will be easy. Pick a Saturday. Make a single meal from scratch and season liberally from the new talent. Take care that all other meals that day don’t contain known triggers. If Sunday arrives with me feeling bright and bubbly, then the new seasoning stays.

Although, it could have been an unexpectedly cold night and I was too tired to wake up to get an extra blanket! That would stuff up the snoz as well.


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