Say Goodbye to TuroK Like Food

In 2011, I started writing about food on this blog as a joke for my college ultimate frisbee teammates. Within 6 months, I was writing 5-6 times per week. Almost five years into the life of TuroK Like Food, I don’t want to write about food anymore. Sadly for all, the chapter of my life where I dedicate much of my non-athlete and non-engineering time to food writing is closed.

More than four years of writing taught me lessons, brought me personal connections, and nourished my love of food. About a year ago, I realized that I didn’t love blogging as much as I had the previous few years. After a year of playing professional ultimate, breaking my collarbone, and recently leaving my engineering job for another, I am putting TuroK Like Food to bed.

One of the reasons I started a blog was to develop my writing. Over the years, I turned down hundreds of dollars from copywriters and marketers who wanted to post their content on TLF. I respectfully declined each request. I have not collected a single dollar in proceeds from TuroK Like Food. Why? I wanted to deliver an authentic product to you, my reader. Posting someone else’s copy would be a waste of time for both of us. You read the blog for my voice and recipes. I claim all responsibility, positive or otherwise, for everything on the blog.

My love for cooking and eating is not extinguished. At some distant time in the future, I hope to put together a cookbook. However, I make no promises about the realization of this dream. Regarding dreams, I still intend to cook each recipe in 660 Curries. I’m on pace to finish in 2025.

TuroK Like Food will remain up and running until September, 2016, a few months shy of its fifth anniversary. After September, you can still reach me at turoklikefood@gmail.com.

Thanks for reading the blog and supporting me over the years.

Adios,
Eric

 

Farewell, dear reader.

Farewell, dear reader.

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Turkey is Gross

I’ve never been more pleased with a Thanksgiving food article than when I read a Bon Appetit article that was posted last week. I’ll summarize it in three sentences. “There’s a reason we only cook elaborately-roasted turkeys on Thanksgiving.” Detach the emotions and memories that surround Thanksgiving and you may realize that there’s little to no reason to eat gross poultry, even on a national holiday. Lobster is tastier than turkey.

Whoa. Lobster on Thanksgiving. I could make that happen.

I host a friendsgiving party every year a few days before Thanksgiving, and only twice have I cooked turkey. I did so as nontraditionally as possible: once on the grill and once in turducken form. The last two years, I prepared prime rib for my friends. Crown roast of pork/lamb, fondue, and pochetta are reserved for future friendsgivings. And lobster.

This year for my family’s Thanksgiving, I vetoed cooking turkey. Everyone agrees that turkey is gross, right? Why would anyone want to eat dry breast meat? Gravy exists because cooked turkey is dry. After chimes of “tradition” and “stuffing” were heard louder than my dissent, I relented under the condition that I could cook it on the grill. And no stuffing. My sister and I, taking the burden off my mom, did most of the cooking. Which means most of the deciding what to cook. We succumbed to the family’s desire to eat stuffing by cooking a non-family recipe. Our menu was as follows.

 

Thanksgiving 2015

Pardon the Movember mustache, this post is about turkey.

Now that the dust has settled on Thanksgiving week, I still don’t like turkey. Next year, either for friendsgiving or Thanksgiving, I’m determined to make lobster instead of turkey. Think of the numerous benefits: cooking time is minutes rather than hours. Equally impressive centerpiece appearance. Butter. No questionable gravy. Yes unconventionality. Yes melted butter.

Lobster.

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How to Cook with a Fractured Clavicle

It’s the fifth and last story in the series How to Cook with a Broken Clavicle. Part 1: Background. Part 2: The Play. Part 3: The Pain. Part 4: Two Weeks. You’ve heard a primer about ultimate (if you didn’t know about it already), the play that caused my injury, and the pain I endured over the next two weeks. I left you with a picture of my terminator collarbone after  surgery and the lack of pain 36 hours post-surgery. If you haven’t heard those stories, read up!

This post is a summary of lessons learned in my 7 weeks since injury.

  1. You can eliminate many activities from your life that become difficult, but do not eliminate eating. I lost 10 pounds in my first week after injury because cooking was painful.
  2. Driving a stick shift car was dangerous and painful, so I didn’t do it until 4 weeks after surgery.
  3. Undergoing surgery quickly placed my shoulder in its anatomically-correct position and eliminated pain within 36 hours. This is huge. I could have avoided surgery, but altered throwing mechanics may have messed with my game and would have left an ugly-ass bump.
  4. Call your parents if that’s something you do. They’d love to take care of you. My parents grocery shopped, cooked, and delivered breakfast burritos to me following surgery. More on that in a bit.
  5. Eating out becomes exhausting. I ate out many times, with and without a companion, and
  6. My monthly breakfast burrito intake grew by 2000%.
  7. When it comes to eating at home without cooking, I recommend protein shakes, cheese, yogurt, prosciutto, salami, and salads.
  8. Whole foods serves a breakfast buffet that costs $8.99 per pound which includes bacon (!) and sausage.
  9. With a useless dominant arm, preparing food is the most difficult part of cooking. I ate numerous ground meat and pre-cut vegetable stir-fries.
  10. Video and book consumption will likely increase. On at least two occasions, I read a 500-page book in a day. I also watched my first TV show, Parks and Rec from beginning to end.
  11. Mental healing is equally important to physical healing. I kept my brain occupied writing, painting with my left arm, getting one pedicure (!), and updating my wardrobe.
  12. Doing mentally- or physically-intensive activities while under the influence of narcotic painkillers is difficult.
  13. I dressed as WWF’s Ultimate Warrior for Halloween. Lesson learned: makeup remover can remove temporary face tattoos but will cause a phenomenon called face burn when applied.
I am Warrior!

I am Warrior!

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Two Weeks

This is the fourth story in the series How to Cook with a Broken Clavicle. Part 1: Background. Part 2: The Play. Part 3: The Pain.

After three parts of the story including my return to the fields, the day is still Saturday. I’m still wearing the same jersey with the same dirt stains. The hospital set me up with a sling to minimize collarbone movement.

Slinging.

Slinging. This picture looks weird because my sister is walking behind me.

Major concern #1 was dressing myself. Specifically, undressing. I was wearing this dope jersey. I didn’t want to cut the jersey offwith scissors because I wouldn’t be able to replace it. I’m strongly attached to my number (#43). We were staying at a teammate’s parents’ house in Santa Cruz, and when everyone on the team had showered, it was my turn. I used the help of three teammates. One held my right arm in position across my body. One held the shirt from the right side and one held from the left. After pained grunting on my part, the thankfully-stretchy shirt was removed. No scissors required.

Concern #2 showering and toweling off was a painfully glacial process. Let your imagination run wild.

As I discovered when first laying down into bed, using my abdominal muscles is painful. I took painkillers and started reading a book. Fast forward. I couldn’t get out of bed in the morning. Too much pain. One of the captains, bless his heart, scooped me out of bed because I couldn’t lift myself.

Revisit concern #1. I heard that button-down shirts are the least painful fractured clavicle clothing option. Problem: I didn’t have any with me. Remember, I’m 350 miles from home. I ask my teammate who’s hosting us for a button-down shirt. He doesn’t have one, but his dad does. Awesome. I’m given a late-1980s Patagonia organic cotton short-sleeve button-down shirt that would make me look like a tourist on a tropical cruise. I rocked the look. Two teammates dressed me, one to hold the arm and one to put on the shirt. Everything is painful.

I watch my team play all day. I give a painkiller-induced emotional speech at the end of season powwow on the fields after our last game is over. We arrive at the airport and thankfully the uneventful plane ride drops me back in Orange County with no additional pain. It’s Sunday night.

Obviously I’m not going into work on Monday. I’m in too much pain to focus on any task for more than a few minutes. Watching TV isn’t enjoyable, but I do that for many minutes. Meanwhile, I’m working in the medical system to get a referral to an orthopedist. The system turned into HMO hell. I had to whoop ass for 3 days with incessant pained phone calls to get an orthopedic surgeon to help see me that week. The doc from my first referral wasn’t available until the next Thursday, 12 days past injury. I was discouraged with the medical system.

I saw an orthopedist 5 days after injury, on Thursday. He took a look at the x-rays (radiographs?) and said yes, it was broken. Don’t do anything that hurts it and see me in 4 weeks. What! I just leave it alone and it will heal? My shoulder is slumped in and I can’t stand up straight. I make money playing a throwing sport and my throwing arm is hurt. This didn’t seem right to me. I endured another few days of HMO hell for a second opinion.

Concern #3: eating. Being unable to use my right arm caused cooking to be near impossible. Eating out twice a day and snacking for the third meal, I lost 10 pounds in a week.

Second opinion! One week later, 12 days after injury I saw the 2nd opinion orthopedist. He said yes, it’s broken and you need to get surgery tomorrow. I underwent surgery on Friday, 13 days after the play. When I woke up, my shoulder was in its anatomically-correct position. I was thankful that I endured surgery. My concerned friends asked if I was nervous about surgery. No. Why would I be nervous? I’m excited for surgery. I’m going to be fixed and I won’t remember any of it.

The surgery went flawlessly. A titanium plate and 7 screws are now a part of me.

I asked for gold screws and the plate inscribed "boss" but the doc respectfully declined.

I asked for gold screws and the plate inscribed “boss” but the surgeon respectfully declined.

36 hours after surgery, I was pain-free and drug-free. I returned to work on Monday with a new sling and a story to tell.

Next up: lessons learned.

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The Pain

This is the third story in the series How to Cook with a Broken Clavicle. Part 1: Background. Part 2: The Play. I’m laying on the ground after catching the disc and hearing my bone break.

Time passed slowly or quickly, I don’t recall. Someone hailed the trainer, who sped over on a golf cart. I don’t remember the events well enough to recount exactly what happened. Someone asked if I could move my shoulder and I did. Someone asked if I could move my arm, and I did, dropping the once-tightly-clenched disc on my face. Sometime after my teammate asked if I heard anything on the impact, I felt my collarbone and noticed a bump and sharp protrusion where my collarbone used to be connected. I announced that my collarbone was broken. I asked if I was in the endzone and found out that I had not scored. I smirkingly asked if anyone got a picture, and one the of my teammates said the photographer didn’t snap the pic.

The trainer arrived and he asked me what happened. He asked if anyone was here with me, and I said that my sis was. She came over and held my hand. My eyes were still muscled closed. The trainer asked me if my head hit the ground and I said no. That means no concussion. Good, I suppose, considering the circumstances. A father of a player on the green team announced that he was a doctor and took a look. He told me it’s broken and that he couldn’t do anything else about it.

The trainer announced that if I was feeling ok, he and his assistant should help me up. They wanted to prevent north-south movement of the fracture so the sharp bone wouldn’t puncture my lung. I struggled breathing after hearing this, but realized it was residual pain from the injury. As I stood up with the help of two men, pain announced itself. I lowered  myself down into the back of the golf cart and told to hold my arm across my abdomen to stabilize the collarbone. I grunted many times as I heard and felt my freshly-broken bones grind upon one another. As the cart pulled away from the fields, I remember wanting to say to my teammates, “you’d better win.” But I realized the guys on the other team were my friends too, so I ate those words and said “you’d better play a good game without me.” Eloquent. The bumpy golf cart ride was one of the most painful experiences of my life. The trainer rushed to get me to the tent where he could stabilize my arm, but I growled at him to slow down.

The next bit is also a blur. My right arm was wrapped in a makeshift sling to stabilize my pieces of collarbone, which were overlapping more as time proceeded. My sister brought the car around and I slowly walked myself out to the car, where I sat in the passenger seat, unable to close the door. I didn’t/couldn’t put on a seatbelt, so I sat stiffly in the seat while my sister drove at conservative speeds to the nearest emergency room. I was separated from the hospital by a 10-minute drive to the city of Gilroy. Previously, I had only known Gilroy as the host of the yearly garlic festival where you can eat garlic ice cream. Now, I’ll forever remember it as the city where I endured much pain in the ER.

Happy

In the hospital waiting room: happy.

Sad

Sad.

Laying in the hospital bed after being x-rayed was another painful experience. Before x-rays was painful, but I occupied my mind by looking forward. The painkillers the nurses stabbed into my flesh seemed to have no effect. I was smelly from playing 3 hours of ultimate. I was thirsty and hungry. I wished garlic ice cream was dispensed from the ceiling into my mouth for nourishment. Maybe the ice cream craving was the painkillers clouding my brain. I escaped the hospital an endless 4 hours after the injury and my sister shuttled me back to the fields via In n Out. I reunited with my teammates, who were sad that I was hurt but glad that I was smiling. I asked if we scored the goal after my catch. Yes we did! Did we win the game? No. I talked with the observer (similar to ref, but with less power) who was helping out with our game. He said I made an awesome play and that he didn’t think I would make the catch. I responded that if I could go back in time, I wouldn’t make the catch and would keep my body unbroken. My teammate who threw me the pass later told me that he didn’t think I was going to make the catch either. I assured him that none of the blame would fall on him. It was my fault for using improper layout form and sacrificing my body.

As my team was stretching after our fourth and last game of the day, the captain and coach of the green team came by to see how I was doing. They gave me a card that was signed by each member of the green team and wished me the best of luck for recovery. I appreciate the gesture. One of my friends on the green team later said the part of the field on which I landed had a tree root just below the surface, which would explain why the ground was so hard on impact. Another Aviators teammate told me he heard my collarbone snap 20 yards away, from the sideline. Yikes.

Next up: a tale of two weeks.

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