Garlic Soup of Doom

I’m about to disclose a secret recipe that holds vast powers of healing, not to mention a recipe that is enormously effective in scaring off the nosier of your neighbors and the more importunate of your bill collectors. If you’re not afraid to smell a little anti-social in the interest of good health and healing, then scroll down to go directly to the recipe for The Garlic Soup of Doom. Or read on, if you actually want to feign interest in learning why I am driven to concoct this potent brew again today.

Feigning interest? Welcome! I will endeavor to make it worth your while.

On the Wednesday before Christmas this year, I finally got The Surgery to take care of my Intensely Painful Finger Situation.

I know, that doesn’t sound like a very technical medical term. But would you know what I meant if I told you I had a Glomus Tumor? I didn’t think so. I mean, the word tumor makes it sound suitably dire, except that it is a benign tumor, and is dire only because of the tremendous amounts of pain involved, not because it is life-threatening in any way. Thank God. I mean, really.

They’re really extremely rare, which makes me feel all warm and special inside, and the best way I can describe the sensation is this: pretty much all day (and night) long, the ring finger on my left hand ached like early-onset arthritis. Throbby. Not pleasant. But nothing compared to the searing, stabbing pain that would occur at the slightest touch to the tip of that finger, or across the fingernail. I mean, a feather-light touch would send me literally screaming off into the distance. It might have just been a piece of paper falling across the back of my hand, but it felt like you had just slammed my finger in your car door. Or stepped on it with a stiletto heel. And the worst of it is, there was absolutely no outward sign of it. No redness, puffiness, dry skin… nothing. Just looks like a normal, happy finger. Until the screaming.

Oh! And sometimes, just for fun, it would feel like I had placed my hand on a white-hot stove. I’d be sitting at my desk, my hand resting lightly on the desk as I talked on the phone, or read an email, and suddenly my hand would fly up in the air, recoiling from the hot flame that wasn’t there. But the burning sensation was real enough, I can tell you.

This is all apparently because a glomus body is part of what regulates how you perceive temperature, as well as how you perceive pain. So all my signals around pain and temperature were completely haywire, and wildly exaggerated.

This went on for two years before anyone was able to properly diagnose the damn thing. And by then, the nerves in my left arm were scarred enough to need some extra therapy before they could do The Surgery to remove the tumor. So despite a positive diagnosis a few months ago, it was only this week that they took the damn thing out.

So. Now I have no more pain, except for the usual discomfort that occurs when somebody does a minor operation on your fingertip that involves removing half of your fingernail. Which, relatively speaking, is better than what life was like for me just one week ago. So I got that going for me. Which is nice.

My focus now is on regrowing my nail as quickly and as strongly as I possibly can. And when I looked up what sorts of foods and minerals might help in the regrowing of strong, healthy nails, I discovered that there’s simply nothing better than a steady diet of garlic.

So that means that I am digging out my old recipe for the Garlic Soup Of Doom. You might find it useful the next time you need to vanquish a particularly malevolent foe, such as a head cold, flu, or hangover.  Adapted from a much more sophisticated dish found in The Silver Palate cookbook, and refined over many years of use and experimentation, the Garlic Soup Of Doom will fight all comers. The Garlic Soup of Doom takes no prisoners.

The Garlic Soup Of Doom
(is here for your souls)

2 – 10 cloves of garlic, depending on how dire your circumstances are, peeled and very thinly sliced

2 Tbs  olive oil

1/4 tsp paprika

2 cups water or chicken stock

1 bagel (I like an Everything bagel, but onion bagels are good too), halved and very thinly sliced

1 egg

Tabasco and Worcestershire sauce to taste

Kosher salt and crushed black pepper

  1. Heat the oil in a saucepan and reduce heat to medium-low.
  2. Add the thinly-sliced garlic to oil and cook, stirring constantly to keep the garlic from browning. Cook about 1-2 minutes, just long enough to soften the garlic slices and flavor the oil.
  3. Add paprika to pan and cook very briefly — maybe 10-20 seconds — so as not to burn the spice and turn it bitter. Just toast it in the oil, mix with garlic, and then
  4. Add water or stock and bring to a boil.
  5. Add a shot of Tabasco and/or Worcestershire sauce. A little goes a long way. Add salt and fresh black pepper to taste. Then simmer mixture on low for about 10 minutes.
  6. Add thinly sliced bagel and cover with liquid.
  7. Once liquid is bubbling again, drop in egg gently (do not break yolk) and cover with liquid. Poach egg in softly simmering soup for about three minutes and serve.

This soup is probably going to look utterly disgusting the first time you make it, and maybe the tenth time you make it, too, and if you’re not a huge fan of soggy bread (which I generally am not), then you will undoubtedly maintain a high level of skepticism about the whole enterprise. Until you have eaten it, and your all little cells and mitochondria go absolutely bonkers with all the delicious, insanely useful garlic you’ve just fed them, and you feel miles and miles better in a matter of hours.

I am currently enjoying a bowl of this soup as part of my efforts to regrow a happy, healthy fingernail, heal my wounds from The Surgery, and, one hopes, be able to wear my wedding ring again after two years of increasingly awful pain that made me keep anything and everything away from that part of my hand.

And once I finish eating this delicious bowl of garlic soup, I’m going to exercise all of my nifty little fingers quite strenuously, by typing another 2,000 – 3,000 words of this here steamy Regency Romance Novel of mine.

I do believe I have a coming-out ball to plan.

Image by Sebastian Mary

10 Thoughts.

  1. OK, now I need to go out and get hungover just so I can see if it works. On the one hand, it seems a little repulsive. On the other, well … it intrigues.

    Mazel tov on the finger. Can’t believe you went 2 years. I would have amputated long before the definite diagnosis.

  2. @Melissa – Thank you, my deer. And believe me, the smut, she is being written…

    @Tamar – Self-service amputation was definitely on the table. As it were.

  3. It is also worth noting that this soup is one of the only good uses I have been able to find for the things they call “bagels” here on Cape Cod.

  4. Hurray! I’m glad the surgery went well and that you are on your way to being right as rain again! It’s rather unfortunate that they couldn’t identify what it was sooner, but I’m so happy for you that it’s gone now!

    And yum on the garlic soup – I love garlic and may just need to make myself some of that!

  5. Oh my goodness!!! I have a glomus tumor that I can’t get my doctor to do anything about!!!! He just put me on gabapentin to help with the nerve pain which is NOT helping! Thanks is much for writing this! I can relate to everything you said!! My finger is KILLING me trying to type this…nobody understands how painful this is…it hurts all the time, but the random stabbing pains are the worst! And let’s not even talk about how it feels when I actually hit it against something!

  6. Get thee to a specialist — none of the general practitioners I saw took me seriously, but the SECOND I sat down in front of a hand specialist, he knew EXACTLY what it was. It helped that by this time the thing had progressed so much that there was a tiny ridgeline forming on my nail where the tumor was bumping it up, and if you looked hard enough, you could just make out a tiny black dot beneath the nail where the actual thing was. I sympathize with you on them treating the nerve pain but not the cause — they did that to me for a long time, too. In fact, even when the specialist had found the problem he recommended I undergo a few more treatments for the nerve pain, since the nerve damage by that time was significant, and just removing the tumor wouldn’t do anything to smooth out all those raggedy nerve endings. But the main thing is to find a hand specialist (surgeon) who can positively ID it for you and Take. It. Out. Honest to God, it’s several years later now, my nail has grown back in perfectly, there isn’t even the faintest trace of a scar, and the pain is GONE. Good luck!

  7. OMG, I cannot believe that I am reading this. I have had this pain for 10 YEARS! Up until one week ago I believed it was nerve damage due to lyme’s disease. I had been to many doctors and nobody knew what it was. I finally found a hand specialist and just as you said, I had a diagnosis in minutes. I am having surgery on the 28th of January and I am soooo excited! It is crazy to read about other people with this condition. I thought I was the only one suffering with this blinding pain. My doctor did not recommend any pre-surgery therapy, so I hope that I will do as well as you did.

  8. Beth, I am so excited to hear you say this! I have an appointment on friday (1/24)! I am so nervous and relieved! I just hope this guy knows what he is doing! Nicole, I will be thinking of you!! I hope that you have great success with your surgery! PLEASE post back on here if you can and let us know how it went!

  9. Jennifer, I hope your appt. went well last week. My surgery is tomorrow and I will post an update when it is over. Hopefully you will be on the same path!

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