Now this store is a bit out of the way, but I know it well as Bob and I used to shop there frequently pre-stroke. They have, for one thing, a great meat/seafood department with the best fresh shrimp and always good deals on things like poultry. In those days, I loved to cook and Bob loved to eat. It's been awhile since I had been to that store.
Last week, Bob had another swallow video test which, unfortunately, showed no improvement from his last one a year ago. I must admit I wasn't holding my breath, because, truly I have not seen any improvement in his swallow and he still complains that his right cheek and right side of his tongue and throat are "gone" meaning numb, with no feeling or movement. And it seems to me that his feeding tube is no longer a "temporary" thing.
Anyway, I walked into that grocery store, which was decorated for Christmas and the Christmas music was playing and a couple entered behind me, laughing and talking. I grabbed a cart then stopped to take off my sunglasses by the pharmacy, where Bob used to fill his prescriptions and suddenly, quite suddenly, tears welled up in my eyes as all these memories flooded over me.
So there I was, between the pharmacy and the "special sales" aisle, as I fought back the tears and fumbled to extract my shopping list from my purse. And such a pathetic shopping list it is, like a single girl's, consisting of cat food and ready-to-eat meals. I remembered when I used to arrive there, with Bob, and a long list of ingredients for the recipes he loved, like my special meatloaf and creamy ranch chicken and shrimp scampi with pasta...
Some days, I tell you, it is just so hard to look back and remember everything we've lost.
But for those of you who love to cook and are lucky to have mouths to feed, I'd like to share one of Bob's old favorites. He won't be enjoying it anytime soon, but perhaps someone else will.
Creamy Ranch Chicken
6 slices of bacon
3 skinless chicken breasts, boned and cut into chunks
2 Tablespoons all purpose flour
1 packet dry ranch dip
1 1/4 cup milk
egg noodles (or other pasta)
shredded cheese (any kind)
Cook pasta, drain. Meanwhile, fry bacon, remove from pan. In same pan (pour off excessive bacon grease, but leave a small amount --enough to coat bottom of pan), cook chicken until done. Sprinkle with flour and dry ranch dip. Stir in milk. Cook and continue stirring until bubbly. Add bacon--crumbled. Serve over pasta, sprinkle with cheese.