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May 3, 2012 02:57 PM

Bitter? Sour? Please help me come up recipes

My dad is recovering from cancer treatments on his throat. He is slowly regaining his sense of taste of bitter and sour. So please help me come up with suggestions of what to feed him that I can pass on to my mom (early Mothers Day present). Here is some additional info
1) since its his throat we need to avoid spicy and acidic
2) cold and hot are also avoided. Likes lukewarm
3) has to be high fat/calories since he doesn't like to eat too much at one time but the doctors want 3000 calories per day
4) mashed potatoes, rice and oatmeal are all out because they bother his throat. He has been eating mainly deviled eggs and pasta would creamy sauces.

The ideas that I have come up with are rapini pesto, yogurt and tonic water. But obviously there are other bitter and sour foods out there that I cant think off.

Thank you

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  1. I'm having a hard time thinking of bitter and sour yet not acidic.

    I be you're making your cream sauces with heavy cream for more fat and calories. My parents like Chocolate Boost, but they don't like any Ensure flavors. Make a chocolate milkshake with Boost (because of the nutrients) and extra-rich ice cream and let it be room temp.

    A smoothie with full fat yoghurt and tart apples? Mac and cheese with cream cheese added, whizzed in the food processor perhaps, no crunchy bits. Potato soup pureed and passed through a sieve if necessary, thin it with cream.

    Clear broths that are very gelatinous will have good protein. You could make gelatin cubes with the broth to serve room temp. I doubt it ups the protein much but something different that might slide down okay.

    Someone else can suggest a protein powder to stir into things.

    I love half-sour pickles, but I'm unsure how to tweak them for your dad.

    Scrambled eggs, tofu mousse, peanut butter mouse, cheese souffle.

    1 Reply
    1. re: nemo

      Yeah, everything that we came up wit that was sour was also acidic (citrus, pickles, etc). But she hasn't fed him anything acidic yet, so who knows maybe it would be too much of an issue.

      Alfredo sauce with extra cream, cheese, and a liquid supplement is the sauce that she makes. When he was go through the chemo he was drinking ensure and hagen daz (highest fat) shakes. Unfortunately they now taste metallic to him and he won't drink them. But maybe a different flavor.

      Mac and cheese is a good idea. Pasta is one of the few things that he enjoys eating.

      I like the idea of gelatin cubes. Might be a good small snack to sneak in those last few calories at the end of the day.

      Thank you

    2. Kale/ collards/ mustard greens are all bitter- cooking them in bacon fat would raise the fat and calories. They can be cooked to very soft, chopped small or pureed after cooked to get whatever texture you need.

      3 Replies
      1. re: weezieduzzit

        Sounds good. We were trying to think of bitter veggies that retain bitterness after cooking. I did mention to her to just give him shots of bacon fat. Maybe a green lasagna with them.

        The ironic thing is my BF is in the middle of a biggest loser competition so I have been trying to come up with low fat/low calorie dishes. Last night I cooked mustard greens and sulked because I couldn't cook them in bacon fat.

        1. re: viperlush

          Along the same lines, a gratin with greens would be yummy! Alton Brown has a recipe that you could use as a basic template:

          1. re: kathleen440

            Thankfully potatoes are back on the list of acceptable food. So a potatoe gratin with mix ins might work.

            He did enjoy some spinach mixed in with his pasta with alfredo sauce. He was even able to taste it.

      2. Sour (tart): Cranberries... maybe blended in yogurt. You said oatmeal is not good, but what about Muesli? Its a very different texture, you could put unsweetened dry cranberries in this.

        Bitter I think chocolate and coffee. One of the things I like (after running or swimming, when I want some calories) is soy milk, a bit of banana, a big scoop of cocoa powder, and a spoonful of peanut butter all blended together with an immersion blender. Its not exactly bitter (the banana adds sweet), but no banana? Last time I made this I got a phone call, and drank it when it was room temp and it was still good. Or maybe modify this -- instant coffee powder + some cocoa, almond or cashew butter (more neutral flavor), add cream and sugar -- likely good warm.

        How about a creamy soup (maybe with the rapini?)
        Radicchio can also be also bitter, I like it grilled, but not sure if would work texture wise.

        There is also bitter melon (common in Asian cooking)... its really bitter (nasty to those ... like me .. who have not acquired the taste!)

        Sounds like your dad has a great daughter! Hoping he is fully recovered soon.

        1 Reply
        1. re: firecooked

          We are trying to convince him to eat yogurt again so maybe the cranberry idea will help. Or even just a can of cranberry sauce. I don't know why, but things like oatmeal, grits, mashed potatoes, rice, etc. just don't work for him. Difficult to swallow? Scratchy?

          Chocolate is tasting weird to him (I suggested drinking hot fudge), but I like the coffee idea. Nut butters are too granular to him and even the small seeds in bananas bother him.

          Bitter melon was one of the first things that came to our mind. Just need to figure out how to cook it..

          Thank you. I'm trying to help be best I can from 500 miles away.

        2. What about a brussels sprouts and cream dish? Here's one:

          Could it be sort of mashed or made smooth enough for him somehow? The cream and butter definitely boost up the calorie count.

          1 Reply
          1. re: AnneMarieDear

            Sounds like a good thing to nibble on and the texture should work.

          2. Sorrel is great for a sour burst, and there are lots of recipes for sorrel cream soups, even sorrel flans.

            Lemon zest might give him some flavor sensations while not being acidic.

            Savory custards or savory cheesecakes? You can infuse cream with flavors (garlic, rosemary, lemon) to get some tasty effects.

            Cooked arugula or mustard greens have a bitter flavor. Puree them and mix with any of the above?

            There's a lovely French way of scrambling eggs where you cook them over low heat stirring constantly so you end up with softly set, almost custard like eggs. Could easily be made with lots of butter to up the calorie content.

            Good luck!

            6 Replies
            1. re: Karen_Schaffer

              Sorrel gave me some other ideas - sumac as used in Middle Eastern or sour mango powder as used in Indian cooking. Not sure how I would incorporate these though since you're avoiding spicy food, would require creativity.

              1. re: julesrules

                Good idea about the sumac, Jules. I don't consider that being spicy though. It's certainly not hot, just slightly citrusy. Maybe they could mix a little into a portion of the cream sauce and test drive it.

                I just checked my sumac. It's a tad sandy, so with the father's problem with even banana seeds, I thought I'd see if it dissolved in hot water. Did not dissolve but got softer. Maybe the mother could soak a large amount in hot water, strain off the solids, and use the liquid which does have that citrusy taste in sauces or strong broth.

                1. re: nemo

                  I just mean that the typical uses for it might be considered spicy, not the sumac or amchur themselves :)
                  What about hibiscus tea / flor de jamaica? Apparently it is acidic but maybe not the way lemon juice is...

              2. re: Karen_Schaffer

                Thanks for the suggestions. As long as they aren't grainy the custard and cheesecakes ideas are perfect. He doesn't really like soups but maybe my mom can do a thicker soup as a sauce for the pasta.

                A did suggest feeding him sticks of butter with something to dip it in.

                1. re: viperlush

                  If he likes custard, do a flan or creme caramel with a nice dark caramel for a bit of bitterness along with the sweet. A Mexican friend of mine makes a cream cheese flan that is delicious and extremely high calorie.

                  1. re: biondanonima

                    Mmm burnt caramel. My favorite ice cream flavor. Ill have to mention the cream cheese flan idea.