Sunday, January 14, 2007

Mmm, mmm, migraine

There is a dirty little secret in my culinary closet: when I am feeling vulnerable or lazy, I will sometimes revert to my childhood table for comfort. Growing up, we were four hungry kids in the sticks, with a massive vegetable garden and a mother who didn't like driving, especially on the ice, with the four of us squalling in the backseat.

So there were several meals that relied on Campbells Soup: as a flavoring, a binder, a stretcher, whatever. Though all four of us now prefer much loftier stuff in public, we'll all swoon for tater tot casserole in a heartbeat. (I'm the family deviant because I make mine with cream of celery and ground chicken.)

Now that I'm grownup with fancy schmancy All-Clad pans and a penchant for anything produced by Ina Garten, I only unfurl the red and white cans a few times a year. A recent craving for Cracker Barrel hashbrown casserole called for a can of cream of chicken soup; and the last time I made Alpo (sorry, mom, it's not beef-and-rice to us), I woke up with a pounding ax in my head at 4 am. Imagine your worst migraine, and then triple it.

The agony couldn't be softened with drugs or sleep, so I sat there wondering just what I'd done to deserve it. My migraines all but disappeared when I whacked paprika out of my diet, but there I was, flashing lights, aura, and agony, and it hit me: Campbells Soup.

Sure enough, when I checked the labels: MSG. Even in the healthy versions. What the hell is wrong with these people? Whose idea was it to lace perfectly mediocre canned soup with chemical flavor enhancers? Why salt the salt?

I guess it's roasted veggies and healthy bits for me from now on.

1 comment:

NancyR said...

Hi Pamela,

I, too have that dirty "M" word in my vocabulary. Migraines are like your own personal cerebral implosion. They even make the process of breathing a somewhat questionable activity when I am in the middle of one. I have been on a few different medications and have found Imitrex the best by far.

You are smart to have figured out your triggers. So far, I have only been able to pinpoint 'stress' as my trigger. Unfortunately, to delete the stress from my life would involve abandoning my family and moving to a new state under a different identity! So for now while I am in this stress-ridden time of my life I just make sure that the prescription for Imitrex does not lapse or go un-refilled.

Hope you are surviving the Artic blast the east coast is enjoying. I am hold up inside this weekend writing a psych paper for grad school. Hoping to see you in Atlantic City.

Take care,
Boston, MA