Mastication – I never knew how much I loved thee

That reads “mastication” you pervs. And I desperately miss it.

Along with my braces came these things called “bite blocks.”

A bite block is essentially a little dab of stuff applied to your very back upper molars that keeps your teeth from touching. This means that there is a gap of .02 mm.

I know what you are thinking – that doesn’t sound like a lot – but it is. When it comes to chewing food that is the difference between efficient rewarding mastication and the utter and complete dismal failure of one’s teeth to do their main job.

All of this is exponentially compounded by the fact that I love food. My enjoyment of food is on the scale of possibly being considered adulterous.

I have eaten nothing more solid than a cream soup since Thursday.

Now – don’t get me wrong – I love a good soup and who doesn’t like a milkshake. But when you have no choice but to consume only those some of the joy is sucked right out of them.

And to demonstrate the true depths of patheticness to which I have sunk I give you the french bread incident.


There are few aromas as deliciously seductive as that of fresh from the oven bread. A warm slightly sweet yeasty scent that calls to a place deep in your psyche. I am but a poor mortal and invariably end up buying the loaf of still hot french bread as I make my way to the check out counter. I usually pull the end off to eat in line and sometimes eat another piece or two in the car. Which means that once I was no longer living alone I always had to buy two loaves so that my husband and stepsons would actually get some – but I digress.

So on Saturday I was miserably winding my way through HEB, which is another unexpected side effect of the braces since I actually adore grocery shopping (we can get into that odd neurosis another time), and as I got to the front I began to catch a familiar scent. As I pulled up to the closest line I saw the rack.

A rack full of fresh bread still hot from the oven.

I began salivating like a pavlovian dog even as my eyes threatened to fill with frustrated tears.

I wanted that bread. More than I have wanted any other bread in my entire existence.

If I had a firstborn child I might have sold them to have that bread.

Thinking that even if I couldn’t eat it I could at least smell it I bought a loaf “to take home to my husband.”

During the car ride home the warm smell filled the entire vehicle and teased me. Hinting at the delightful goodness to be found within the crusty brown shell. Taunting me with the forbidden.

I got all of the groceries put away before I gave in.

I tore of the end and pulled a thumb sized piece of the warm soft center out and placed it in my mouth.

Since I can’t chew I just held it on my tongue. Willing my mouth to create more saliva to digest and release the flavor.

It takes 1 minute and 47 seconds for a thumb sized piece of soft french bread center to disintegrate into a yeasty pulp that you can swallow without chewing.

And I was so disappointed.

The texture was all wrong, the feeling wasn’t right. I felt cheated.

Maybe it needed butter – because butter makes everything better.

So I tried it again adding a dollop of soft creamy butter – if possible the sense of profound loss was even greater.

Not being able to chew completely robbed the experience of all the joy and satisfaction I had been hoping for.

Sad and defeated I threw away the remaining bit of bread end still in my hand, wiped away a tear and went to make myself another smoothie with a heavy heart.