Break from the bland

Easy-to-Swallow, Easy-to-Chew Cookbook

Over 150 Tasty and Nutritious Recipes for People Who Have Difficulty Swallowing

Donna L. Weihofen, JoAnne Robbins and Paula A. Sullivan

John Wiley & Sons: 250 pp., $15.95


An estimated 15 million Americans have trouble swallowing properly. The group includes people with muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis and some cancers, along with elderly people who often have trouble getting enough nutrition. But no one wants their meals limited to dull, bland, mushy foods -- and they don't have to be, the authors say. The key is to ensure that foods are tender and contain no hidden hazards, such as bones.

The authors have come up with solutions to making eating interesting and flavorful for those with a limited capacity to swallow.

Weihofen is a nutritionist; Robbins is a researcher who runs a swallowing program and Sullivan is a speech pathologist who specializes in swallowing rehabilitation. Together the three explain the anatomy of swallowing problems, which can begin in the mouth, throat or esophagus, and offer tips for easy swallowing.

For each of their recipes, they specify the texture of the finished food and let readers know which may need extra blending. You could make an appealing dinner -- for those without swallowing problems -- from many of the dishes included here: seafood Newburg, crab cakes, corn pudding, bourbon sweet potatoes and pumpkin bars.

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