Thursday, September 1, 2011

How a cannonball to the head turns you from a mercenary into a hyper-religious academic

I wish I could say that the lack of blogging was due solely to the fact that I've been making things like vegetarian meatloaf, which are good to eat but not good to look at, but really my priorities lie somewhere in the pterygopalatine fossa rather than in being online. The ugly-and-easy food is probably a result of that, come to think of it. Ah, well.

First, a medical tale to relate. There is a certain anatomy professor and former surgeon of whom I (and the two other women in my anatomy group*) have grown quite fond. He's practically antediluvian--I recall him telling a story about cracking open someone's chest in the ER sans anesthesia because there were no pagers or whatnot to alert the operating room staff that they needed a room freed up stat--and as a result has a somewhat quirky set of professorial offerings. There are the mnemonic rhymes that ring with that delightful sort of archaic smut**. There are the stories about being a patient and knowing exactly what was going on, back in the days when that was probably an even more disquieting thing to be than it is now. And then there are the stories about medical school. Today, amidst some review of the cranial nerves' paths and functions, we learned that when he was a medical student at McGill, this doctor had an anatomy professor named C.P. Martin. Said professor began his adult life as a mercenary for the British during the Irish War of Independence. In some skirmish or other, he received a cannonball to the back of the head and lay on the battlefield for days before some poor schmucks coming to collect the bodies found him inexplicably alive. Even more inexplicably, he recovered without a hint of infection, but with a huge scoop taken out of his skull and a chunk of his brain covered only by soft tissue. As a result of his injuries, he went on to become a. very religious, b. a renowned anthropologist, and c. a renowned anatomist. As a more tangible result, not only did he have to wear a sort of sweatband with a big pad in the back to keep his brain warm during the winter (says our professor), but he lost left nasal and right temporal vision. The students, said our professor, exploited this by signaling to their cohorts who were sneaking into class late which way Martin was looking. The tardy students could then enter class via whichever door to the lecture hall lay in Dr. Martin's rather substantial blind spot.

Second, on a Diet Coke expedition to Rite Aid today, I discovered, for a mere $2.50, the renowned confection of Delta airlines: Biscoff!

These taste like burnt caramel with a slightly salty finish. They're godly. When I finally make that goat cheese cheesecake, I think I'll make the crust out of these. Godly, I tell you.

And here is a blurry and yellow (nothing new, I know) picture of dinner: eggs, fruit salad with a mint/sesame oil dressing, roasted chard, and lemon ginger pancakes that I came up with on the fly. They were really good, so here's the recipe:

1.5 cups flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp dried ginger
1.5 cups milk
juice and zest of 1(very) large lemon
3 tablespoons fresh ginger, grated
2 eggs
2 tablespoons oil or melted butter

Let the ginger and lemon zest soak in the lemon juice while you mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl. Separate the two eggs, putting the yolks in the bowl with the dry ingredients and putting the whites in a separate, small bowl. Add the vanilla and the ginger/lemon juice mixture to the milk and let it curdle slightly while you whip the egg whites to medium-stiff peaks. Stir the milk mixture and then the melted oil/butter into the dry ingredients. Gently fold in the egg whites. Cook in an oiled or buttered frying pan by the quarter-cup.

*We were (accidentally) segregated by gender in all our anatomy activities, which is slightly surreal but not an impediment to education, it turns out.
**An example, which is apparently by Oliver St. John Gogarty: The lingual nerve/ took a mighty swerve/ around the hyoglossus./ "Well, I'll be fucked!"/said Wharton's duct,/"The bastard's double-crossed us!"

1 comment:

  1. In case you are interested in Dr. C.P. Martin's thoughts on religion, you could check out the following URL:

    where you will also find a rather nice photo of Dr. Martin and a couple photos of the old Medical School Building in the upper campus.