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Apr 8, 2015 · Calzones: Proceed as Indicated

Just three weeks into my general surgery rotation, I have continually been given the privilege to “close”, or stitch shut, the incision. It sounds like I might be a reserve star pitcher, but really, it’s the grunt work OR job for medical students. Since I’m not allowed to do anything [...]

Feb 25, 2015 · Sourdough Lungs: An Anatomy Primer

It has occurred to me, late in the game, that all of this time I could have been using my bread baking not only as catharsis but also as a study device. Bread can be more than nutrition; it can be education. Let me explain. Because I spent the last week in the ICU and was constantly doing chest X-rays and fussing with tracheostomy collars and ventilators, it got me thinking about the lungs. I considered making a ventilator in a square pan, but that seemed a bit square. Going for the anatomical, I decided instead to make bread lungs. It made the most sense to create a pull-apart bread recipe, to better represent the lobes of the lungs, and, because I am on a surgical rotation week after next, to practice my lobectomy. Kudos to any pathologists out there who can make apt diagnoses as to the health of these lungs. Pull-Apart Wheat Bread Lungs
  • 1 1/4 cups lukewarm water (85°F to 95°F)
  • 1 cup sourdough starter
  • 1 cup warm whole milk (105°F to 115°F)
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 1/2 cups bread flour
[...]

Dec 17, 2014 · DBT - The Tastier Version!

I’ll admit sometimes I eat brownies for breakfast. If they happen to be out, and I’m whirling through the kitchen to get dressed and upright on the moped and into the hospital, I’ll grab a brownie and chase it with a pot of coffee.

I’m getting help. Actually, I’ve invented my own Crisis Hotline for others. I call it Dialectical Brownie Therapy (DBT), an adaptation of a cognitive treatment known as dialectical behavioral therapy, and I’ve been learning to practice on my current psychiatry rotation. For my version of DBT, as in real Dialectical Behavior Therapy, the goal is to seek a synthesis between two extremes, between feeling overly controlled and feeling out of control. When I eat brownies for breakfast, I get caught in the Hegelian dialectic between 1) my own out of control emotional vulnerability of wanting the goodness of a gooey brownie regardless of the health consequences and 2) the over controlling invalidating environment that shames me for wanting to eat chocolate for breakfast and oversimplifies the ease of reaching for the banana or granola instead. I get caught between blaming myself and blaming others for the problem of brownies for breakfast. Only after significant work at distress tolerance did I arrive at a revolutionary conclusion: I am fine to have brownies for breakfast (acceptance) AND the brownies need to be radically different, healthier (challenge). [...]

Oct 28, 2014 · Keeping Surgeons Nice with Maple Pumpkin Spice!

So I was scrubbed in on a colon operation the other day, and the senior resident had been teasing me for bringing my sourdough starter with me to Florida for my surgery rotation. No one understands how important fresh bread is to my sense of well-being. The attending colorectal surgeon, who is a lovely, soft-spoken man, muttered very quietly, “If you make oatmeal raisin cookies, you get an A on this rotation.” I don’t need much of an excuse to bake something new, and this recipe I cobbled together from a bunch of different sources is definitely worth an Honors grade in surgery. As such, I am taking the man at his word, and of course I used the baking process as an opportunity to study: Maple Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal Raisin Colon Cookies Recipe
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin (key secret ingredient)
[...]
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