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.
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
Tabasco and Worcestershire sauce to taste
Kosher salt and crushed black pepper
- Heat the oil in a saucepan and reduce heat to medium-low.
- 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.
- 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
- Add water or stock and bring to a boil.
- 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.
- Add thinly sliced bagel and cover with liquid.
- 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