Just what the dentist ordered — soup
When I arrive for my reservation, I’m led to what is arguably the best seat in the house.
Situated in a quiet corner, unencumbered by too many comings and goings, the panoramic view includes mountain, sky and cityscapes.
Clouds sit lightly along the skyline and deciduous trees are dressed in the first snowfall of the season.
Minutes after being seated, a bib is draped about my neck with a small flourish.
Anywhere else, I’d be ordering a whole lobster, complete with claw crushers and a small mallet.
And, after finagling meat from the freshly steamed carapace, I’d swirl it in butter and make yummy sounds.
“How are you today?” I’m asked as my chair begins to tilt backwards.
“As well as can be expected on Root Canal Tuesday,” I reply.
My dentist laughs, makes a joke about discount dentists (which he is not) and begins to empty a syringe of numbing agent into my cheek and gums.
While the left side of my face fattens, I try to recall the restaurant fantasy I was engaged in only minutes ago, but can no longer imagine the menu.
Instead of a glass of chardonnay, I clasp a TV remote control hermetically sealed in a Ziplock bag and begin, as a dribble of spit attempts to escape the corner of my mouth, to sift through channels.
Food Network, at 11 a.m. on a weekday morning, features Eat Street.
Today, the host visits a Bacon Mania food truck in Costa Mesa, Calif.
He tries, but fails, to convince me bacon milkshakes are da bomb — but, maybe that’s just the novocaine talking.
Soon, my backmost molar is fitted with a rubber dam and a medieval-looking clamp.
Unlike the vaguely bubble gum-carpaccio-flavoured rubber dams I expect, this one tastes slightly acidic and begins to burn, ever so slightly, the tip of my tongue.
When the assistant leaves the cubicle, I take a picture of myself with my BlackBerry, another shot of the bristling tray of drill bits and email the images to a friend.
Elsie is home recovering from recent surgery, so we are commiserating this week.
Flip, flip, flip.
I become convinced dentist offices must — and soon — become the new frontier for Netflix.
Without it, however, during my own feature-length drama, I land on the Comedy Network, where Sheldon, Leonard, Howard and Raj are eating at the Cheesecake Factory for the very first time.
Sheldon considers making it his Tuesday hamburger spot and eliminating Souplantation from his weekly dinner schedule.
(Soup, I consider, is probably the only viable option for my own dinner tonight).
I’m in dangerous territory here.
There are rules, after all, regarding the watching of The Big Bang Theory.
They include never watching a Sheldon-centric episode while eating, unless accompanied by someone who has a practical knowledge of the Heimlich manoeuvre.
Today, however, I’m not only at risk of laughing out loud and choking on my own drool, but also snickering and ending up with a drill where no drill has gone before.
When said drill begins to whir, however, I decide two things.
First, having a root canal is unfunny enough to neutralize all risk of laughter.
And, second, when I get out of this chair, I’ll pick up ingredients for baked potato soup, garnished with crumbled bacon.
If you want, think of it as a baked-potato milkshake.
Baked potato soup
Flesh from 4 large baked potatoes
4 tbsps. butter
2 medium leeks, finely sliced, (white and light green parts only)
5-6 cups chicken stock
2 cups grated cheddar
6 green onions, finely sliced, (white and light green parts only)
5 strips bacon, cooked crisp, drained, chopped
Flaked kosher salt/freshly ground pepper
Scoop flesh from well-baked potatoes.
Melt butter in a stock pot over medium-high heat. Add leeks; sauté until softened, two to three minutes. Add potatoes and five cups stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmering for 10 minutes
Puree using an immersion blender. Thin with additional stock if needed.
Bring back to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with grated cheddar, green onions, bacon and sour cream.
Darcie Hossack is a food writer and author of Mennonites Don’t Dance (Thistledown Press). For past recipes, go here. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.