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Foodie Phoenix Rising

Due to the traumatic brain injury, doctors have labeled me a “hazard in the kitchen.” At one time in my life, cooking brought me great joy, now it can be dangerous. I have set off smoke alarms on more than one occasion and nearly melted a small frying pan when I sprayed Pam directly over the stove! This led to one of my favorite Christmas gifts ever, a portable fire extinguisher. I have memory challenges when preparing meals, and lack the attention and focus needed while reading a recipe.

To ensure safety, my rehabilitation specialist writes a “medical necessity” letter for meal delivery services. This service used to be a company out of Miami, FL called Fresh Diet. I would receive a prepared meal three days a week. Inside the refrigerated bag would be breakfast, lunch, dinner, a snack and dessert for one person. It was a convenient way to enjoy prepared meals that were healthy and properly portioned, and I didn’t have to cook.

One morning in July 2016, the bag was not waiting outside my door however the online system showed I had received the delivery. I called customer service and left a message to report it missing. No one returned my call, and the following two deliveries were also not made. When I tried to call again, the number was disconnected. It took nearly a week before I learned Fresh Diet unexpectedly went bankrupt. Unfortunately, this occurred shortly after I prepaid $1,500 for the next three months of service. I filed a Better Business Bureau complaint and this issue is still unresolved.

I saw a friend’s recommendation on Facebook for a new meal service called Home Chef. The main difference is now I am required to prepare the meals. After discussing it with my fiancé Augustus, we decided to give it a try. On January 12th, I received the first smartly packaged box that contains three meals. filled with fresh produce, delicious ingredients and a helpful cookbook.

Cooking with a brain injury is nothing short of an adventure. I still agree to never cook without someone else here and have only prepared meals when Augustus is home. I have already thoroughly ruined two recipes, which he saved both times. The Truffled Cremini Mushroom flatbread and the Mushroom-Spinach Lasagna Rolls both have a “one-spoon Easy” difficulty rating. In both cases, I made the mistake of adding the wrong ingredients at the wrong step, which was much more of a problem than it might sound. I was terribly frustrated by my errors and was about to give up until Augustus helped calm me down and worked out a solution.

Home Chef is making me feel more confident in the kitchen, and I have started using a crock pot again. My friend Peter Herrschaft is a real foodie and an impressive chef. He expressed the desire to teach others cooking as a form of therapy. I will become his first client this Saturday when Augustus leaves town for Super Bowl Sunday. Standby for the next blog to see where this goes!

Posted in Blog on February 1, 2017.

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