Easy-to-swallow recipes for those for those with mouth pain


Let’s say that you are very ill, so much so that your nourishment gets into your body via a painful puncture or means — a needle and solution, for example, or a feeding tube. You bear the pain because you tell yourself that you must, in order to eat, surely, but also just to move on.

Let’s say, however, that the way food routinely gets into you is itself riven with pain. It is your mouth, its palate, the chewing and swallowing devices of your mandible and tongue, the whole hole.

You’ve had some wisdom teeth removed, say. Or a couple of serious canker sores have encamped. Your advanced Parkinson’s complications make it near-impossible to swallow. Your mouth suffers an abscess, or lesions from shingles, or oral thrush.

Or, let’s say that a surgeon had to remove some of the mouth because cancer was there (as in a portion of your tongue).

“Three months into the pandemic,” says a friend, Marty Jones, “I had lost a lot of weight — 25 pounds — and I didn’t know why.”

With typical good humor, Jones, a singer and musician with whom I had worked alongside as a writer in the late 1990s, says, “Was I just worried about the fate of mankind?”

No, it was cancer of the tongue, the rear part of which had to be taken out. “The removal and then stitches in several places,” Jones, says, “made swallowing tortuous.”

Well, here is a fellow who I know to be of exceptional good cheer, but merely swallowing his own saliva (which flowed in buckets because his mouth perceived its sutures as invaders) “hurt like hell.”

Much less eating food in whatever form or consistency he chose. “My task was to regain that weight and consume as many calories as I could,” Jones said. “Yeah, but the problem just was swallowing.”

He understandably grew tired of meal-replacement “nutrition drinks.” Thanksgiving dinner 2021 of puréed turkey and stuffing didn’t cut it. Plus, “the list from the docs of flavorful foods that were easy to eat,” he says, “were also heavy on milk or cream or fat.” Not to mention that many processed, easy-to-swallow foods (puddings, for example, or soups) commonly come loaded with what Jones accuses of “insane levels of sugar and salt.”

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