Taka can only eat soft stuff. About two and a half months ago he began having a toothache. He manfully waited for two weeks until he asked me to make a dentist appointment. The dentist found nothing, and Taka immediately started to think that he has jaw cancer. He started to come and talk to me in the evenings (he never did it before), all the while grabbing himself by the jaw and shaking it (perhaps, to check if it was still attached). I took a view that he should try to show his tooth to a dentist again before making the funeral arrangements.
This time the doctor found a crack in one of his bottom teeth. By that time Taka was already insisting on having soft rice for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Do you know, how long it takes rice to cook until it becomes the consistency that Taka likes, namely, like runny glue?!
At least he stopped talking about the jaw cancer. The dentist talked him into putting a crown on an offending molar. First he had a temporary crown put on. You should've seen him that evening! "That soup is too hot!" "This salmon pancake (believe it!) has jalapeno in it and a piece got stuck under my crown!" Every day I racked my brain about what to cook that will not require any chewing. Any kind of meat went into a blender, together with copious amounts of onion and breadcrumbs. I bought out the entire stock of tofu from a local supermarket and boiled it in a different sauce every day.
Gradually, I noticed that Taka became more brave about his food choices. He consumed cartons of ice cream and tins of pies. I saw him take on some shockingly pink Mexican cookies that were not at all soft. I still did my best to provide him with soft meals, but felt that the reprieve from perpetual blending, stirring, mashing the potatoes and "tofu-ing" was in sight. Not so!
Yesterday he went and got a permanent crown. For some reason, he could not talk normally when he got home. Sonny and I both caught something about him "not breathing" and became really concerned. I went after him and began probing for a reason why he couldn't breathe. He looked at me disgustedly and enunciated it better through locked teeth: "Bl-r-l-r-eeding!" "Bl-r-l-r-eeding!" (Japanese have hard time pronouncing their Rs). It turned out, he also got his other tooth pulled and his gum was bleeding!
Today, feeling guilty, I cooked all day. As a result, he pronounced that my soup was too crunchy (!), my chicken (the best in years) - too hard. He weaseled some pancakes out of me, which he ate with most of our ice cream. He also finished a dish of jello, three yogurts and all of the crunchy (!) soup. I don't know, where it all goes, he has no fat on him! But tomorrow I am starting on another round of tofu boiling!