When I was a freshman in college my father had a heart attack. This was in the late 1970’s and bi-pass surgery was a new procedure. The only place in our area that you could have the procedure performed was at the University hospital. This is a teaching hospital and so there are many innovative procedures that are preformed there. The hospital receives patients from all over the United States so there was a four month waiting list prior to dad’s surgery. He was sent home with medication and a restricted diet. Suddenly my mother was looking for healthy recipes to cook. This was a great change for her because she used a great deal of butter and salt in her cooking, and they ate out in restaurants a great deal. Neither one of my parents had ever given a thought about healthy recipes and fat or salt content in their foods.
The heart attack really frightened my mother. She was determined that dad would regain his strength and be healthier. She became a fanatic at making sure everything she served him was made from healthy recipes. At that time there was not the number of fat alternatives that there are today. The alternatives that were on the market were poor tasting and poor quality. My older sister tried to tell my mother that she did not need to try elaborate healthy recipes, but instead broil chicken and fish and serve fresh vegetables. The most difficult thing for dad was giving up chocolate as well as the rich desserts that mom made. She made pound cakes that melted in your mouth. She would make several at a time and freeze them. When ever she needed a dessert she would thaw one of the cakes and serve large pieces with fresh whipped cream and chocolate sauce. We teased my dad that it was probably a piece of mom’s pound cake that clogged his artery.
During the four months of waiting for the surgery my parents gradually became accustom to their new life style. Mom did find some healthy recipes that tasted quite good. She learned to cook simpler meals and they both learned to make wiser choices when eating out in restaurants. Dad had his surgery and needed to stay in the hospital for a month due to complications. After his hospital stay he had several weeks in a rehab hospital closer to home. Once he returned home he was able to resume most activities that he did prior to his heart attack. As the years went by mom found that it was easier to create tasty healthy recipes with the improvement of reduced fat products.