Quilting Food (August 1999)

I want you to know that my caloric intake is temporarily limited to baked beans, mashed potatoes and room temperature bananas. And my stupid tooth still hurts. After 36 years, the fillings in my back molars finally gave out leaving me with an unusual sensitivity to potato chips. Gum, popcorn, nuts, and generally every other type of food posed no problem, but one Pringle and the pain sent me off my chair and into my overhead lamp. Iím just thankful I stopped sewing to crunch or I might have jammed the gas on my Bernina on my way up and done who knows what kind of damage.

I acted like a grownup and had the teeth filled a week ago. I enjoyed the laughing gas immensely, not so much the Novocain. I acted like the responsible adult I can pretend to be and neither whimpered nor bit his finger. As soon as I got to the car I stared for many long times in the rear view mirror at my bright, shiny new fillings from as many angles as I could comfortably turn my head. I opened and closed my mouth a couple of times practicing not to get my cheek in between my teeth, started the car and drove home.

I got much sympathy from my employees. They know what a wimp I really am. I was having a jolly time. For the first couple of hours it was fun talking like the Godfather. My cheek felt goofy, I could only smile halfway, my tongue didnít taste, and things I tried to put in my mouth just fell out. Then I got hungry. And then the Novocain wore off.

Well friends, itís been a week and itís getting a little old. All my chewing is on the ďother sideĒ and I am building up such strong muscles over there that Iím sure my face will now be visibly lop-sided. Meals are even slower than usual and my tooth hurts for hours afterwards. My jaw is continually sore. It feels like he hung a featherweight off my lower lip to keep my mouth open during the filling fest. Did I mention I think my ear hurts too? And my armpit. In fact, when I get to thinking about it, everything on my whole right side bothers me. Mostly Iím thinking of not eating, and thinking of not eating just makes me hungry.

I quilted for a couple of hours last night and couldnít indulge in any culinary diversions. Now that Iím writing this, I still canít, so I might just as well offer my advice so that YOU can do what I CANíT!

These recommendations lend themselves more to hand quilting than machine quilting. Working on the machine leaves little space for munchies, and itís so darn quick you just donít build up the appetite. So, imagine youíre hand quilting. On a frame. Those are much like tables after all, and I prefer working in a frame for that very reason. Small snack bowls can be set on top and still leave plenty of elbowroom.

And what to put in those bowls? Basically anything that can be eaten without using your fingers, because licking them afterwards just takes too long. Instead, learn to get the food from the bowl to your mouth with the end of your tongue. Stick it out as far as you can, lean over the bowl, and bring whatever sticks to your tongue up and in. Lightweight snacks, like popcorn and most breakfast cereals are easiest. Peanuts are a little harder. Aim for the ones already in half so you get more suction on the flat side. With practice Iíve even learned to get M&Ms into my mouth, as long as I donít try to root around for the red ones. Whatever you put in the bowl, pour in just enough for you. Itís not like anyone is going to want to share.
(c) 1999 by Ami Simms.