food takes on a whole new meaning when life throws a curve. I
didn’t think about that when I jumped on a plane to New
Mexico after learning that my sister was hospitalized in
critical condition. I did think about it when my other sister
and I spent the next two weeks waiting, praying, eating and
sleeping as best we could.
just a cup of coffee is soothing. Geri, a sweet nurse in ICU,
brought me a cup as we sat by our sister’s bedside. The next
day, my worried soul agreed with the hand-written "thank
you" penned on a sign in the hospital cafeteria that
read, "Coffee is free."
left the hospital at the end of each day, we would stare at
each other and ask, "What do you feel like eating?"
Knowing my go-to comfort food when I visit my native New
Mexican happens to be green chile cuisine, my sister complied.
After about the third day, she suggested a salad would be
nice. I agreed.
getting a good night’s sleep, we soon understood that eating
regular meals kept us going through critical conditions. And
being away from our usual physical activity, we tried to opt
for lighter fare…most of the time.
knowing the days would be long, we didn’t skimp on
breakfast. From fresh fruit and homemade granola at the Mauger
B&B in downtown Albuquerque (tell ’em Barbara sent you)
to the comfort of green chile scrambled eggs at the Sheraton
Uptown (tell ’em Barbara sent you), we were well-fueled each
morning for what the day would bring.
became "we need a salad" adventures. And most
restaurants, we found, feature great varieties these days.
Many came with grilled fish or chicken to add much-needed
protein to our weary bodies. And I was pleased to see kale,
brussels sprouts and other not-usual salad combinations to
keep us interested in getting our veggies.
sister began to improve, we splurged on a couple of
celebratory meals…because we needed to. We sought out Villa
di Capo in downtown Albuquerque — where our dad used to take
our family in our youth. The familiar surroundings and
flavorful Italian food were true comforts.
true we eat for more reasons that nutrition. During critical
times, food nourishes the soul as much as the body. Which was
my reason for a plate of green chile enchiladas at Papa Felipe’s
restaurant as we got into week two of my sister’s recovery.
(just sayin’) the sweet potato and green chile relleno with
corn, black beans and grilled vegetables at the ABQ Grill sent
my comfort food to a whole new level.
for the prayers and support that brought our sister through,
it was time to return to our lives again. As she drove me to
the airport, my other sister joked that we had eaten at every
restaurant in Albuquerque. Well, not quite.