A mild ‘gross-out’ alert applies to what follows. However, if you or someone you care about is scheduled to have a c****oscopy, as I did recently, I might be able to help you get through the preparations without your palate going into a coma.
I will spare you the details of what you eat – now there’s a euphemism – and what else happens on the day immediately before the procedure. No, it’s the previous day when a bit of creative cooking can help you to eat with a smile on your face.
The list of ‘foods allowed’ provided by the hospital included: white bread products; plain cereals; ripe bananas and stewed peeled pale fruits; white rice and white pasta; cooked peeled carrot; minimal margarine; well cooked lean white meats; eggs; and low fat cheese. But definitely, no full cream dairy products and no dark-coloured foods.
On the day before this day of limited options, I poached three trimmed chicken thigh fillets – you could substitute pieces of a firm white fish – in water to which I had added some diced peeled carrot (x 2), some sprigs of thyme and parsley, chopped celery and salt and pepper. When this was cool enough to handle, I strained the liquid into a bowl, placed the pieces of chicken and carrot in the liquid and discarded the other solids.
Next morning, after a night in the fridge – the bowl, not me – I deglazed the chicken fat from the surface of the liquid, removed the carrot and chicken and used the flavoursome liquid to cook some white rice. Meanwhile, I mashed the carrot and diced the chicken; beat and seasoned a couple of eggs, added some pieces of the chicken and cooked an omelet in a little margarine in a non-stick pan. So, for lunch, I had a dish of tasty rice tossed with mashed carrot and pieces of chicken omelet.
Next, a plan for dinner, in the knowledge that Maggie would be sitting down to a mouth-watering plate of leftovers from a couple of nights earlier, when we had roasted a whole piece of porterhouse (sirloin) beef, served with some delicious vegetables.
I decided to make something akin to a dish of carbonara. While some broken lengths of spaghetti were bubbling away, I heated the rest of the diced chicken and mashed carrot in a little bit of the poaching liquid I had set aside. I added the cooked pasta to the pan, then a beaten egg which I stirred into the dish off the heat. Okay, it didn’t look especially pretty but it tasted good and filled me up, ahead of my day on Starvation Row.
I began and ended this day with a bowl of corn flakes, pieces of ripe banana and non-fat milk. For snacks, I had crumpets (bulkier than bread), lightly cooked to reduce the need for a slather of margarine, then lightly flavoured with Vegemite or seedless jam, also permitted.
So, my palate didn’t recoil unduly in horror and, two days later, I got the all clear from the specialist and Maggie took me home to a nice roast beef sandwich.