[Sca-cooks] FW: OOP - Culinary challenge for a feeding tube patient

Christine Seelye-King kingstaste at mindspring.com
Mon Jan 21 09:00:47 PST 2008


Follow up to my previous post, it's Nutren 1.5 - here's the website for it:


-----Original Message-----
From: King's Taste Productions [mailto:kingstaste at comcast.net] 
Sent: Sunday, January 20, 2008 7:15 PM
To: 'Cooks within the SCA'
Subject: OOP - Culinary challenge for a feeding tube patient


Dear Cooks,

            I have a friend that has been fighting throat cancer for the
last several months.  He has been declared cancer free and is now on the
long rebuilding process to heal and recover.  For the foreseeable future
(and for some time now) he has a feeding tube in his stomach.  He subsists
on Nutra ??? right now, which provides 375? calories per 8? ounces.  The
label says the second ingredient is maltodextrin, so a lot of the calories
are provided by easily-digestible corn syrup.  It is vanilla flavored and
has a fiber supplement in it.  To my great astonishment, he can actually
taste this stuff!  It is put into the tube in his stomach and it hits his
salivary glands.  He says all he really gets out of this stuff is the
vanilla and the fiber, making it taste like vanilla wood.  (This part of the
process really fascinates me, and I think I'll be cruising some medical
journals to see what they have to say about the sense of taste and bypassing
the mouth with feeding.)  He can take other things through the tube (like
all his meds) so he can take liquids blended up and put through, although it
has to be put through a very fine sieve - it basically has to be clear or
mostly clear to pass through.  I asked his wife if she can give him broth
through it, and she said yes, but it only replaces his water, not the
nutrient stuff, because of the caloric and fiber and nutrient content.    


I had made a chicken corn tortilla soup for us over the weekend, and we
ended up taking some of the broth and straining it (the only thing I could
find was a French Press, but hey, it worked like a charm!) and then thinning
it down again.  It was a stock I'd made with smoked turkey carcasses, then
the soup consisted of the stock, chicken thighs, corn, black beans, diced
tomatoes, cilantro, garlic, a touch of tobasco, some lime juice, salt and
pepper, then thickened with masa harina.  After straining it, she tried it
through his tube, and he said "chicken stock?  And I taste a smoky flavor"
!!! I was totally amazed!  He was thrilled to be able to taste anything else
but the vanilla wood!  (Like I said, she can and does give him other clear
liquids, but he has lost a lot of weight, so she has to keep his nutrients
and energy up).  


            So now I am trying to figure out how to make basically clear
liquids that can carry enough fiber and calories and nutrients to be able to
replace a can of the Nutra every once in a while.  I guesstimated that the
soup might have had half the caloric value of the Nutra, so she counted it
as a half a can.  I'm guessing he would rather have savory than sweet, since
he's got all the vanilla he can handle (wonder if he'll ever like the taste
of vanilla things again after this is all over?).  A good rich stock is a
great start, and I can certainly do that.  But it needs to be higher in
calories than that.  Simply blending up a regular soup doesn't work, even
strained it tends to clog the tube, so it can't have any 'bits' in it.
Water is the universal solvent, so it has to dissolve whatever I'm using and
carry it in that way.  I am compiling a list of things that can be dissolved
or steeped in water that help increase the calories and nutrient content of
the water.  Then I just have to make tasty recipes out of those things,
which should be the easy part - I hope!


Anyone care to give this culinary challenge a try?  It's for a good cause!


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