Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Safety lox

Sometimes it is the minor changes breast cancer brings about that are the hardest to accept. I was pretty shaken up when a nurse in the hospital told me it would no longer be safe to go in a hot tub due to the risk of lymphedema. However, the biggest shock came when my cancer center's nutritionist said I would have to give up lox.

Now if you are reading this in Nebraska or Mexico or France, you perhaps are saying,"What on earth is she talking about?"
Lox, a/k/a Nova is smoked salmon, and if you are Jewish or a New Yorker it's a quintessential taste. I like matzoh brie and kasha, but lox may be the single most iconic food for American Jews of Eastern European decent. When the nutritionist told me to limit my consumption of it to 4 times a year I was incredulous. Apparently the problem is the smoking, and while I understood that flame grilled beef could be carcinogenic, I never imagined lox could be risky. It was fish, right?

The nutritionist did mention that if I could find lox that was cured in brine, but not smoked, it would be safer. So today I found myself on the Lower East Side and headed over to Russ and Daughters, one of NYC's oldest and best known appetizing stores.

I was relieved to find out behind the counter they do have two smoke free options. Belly lox which is VERY salty, and gravelox, which is obviously a relative of gravlax. I ordered the latter on a pumpernickel bagel with a little bit of cream cheese and tomato, which turned out to be a very satisfying sandwich.

I realize limiting lox is far from the biggest issue facing women with cancer, but still I am a bit proud of myself today. For at least one meal I found a way to maintain a cancer-fighting diet, without giving up a taste that is a cultural touchstone.


1 comment:

  1. I paid another visit and apparently curing your own gravalox is pretty simple. The nice man behind the counter encouraged me to do it.
    Will report back.