The infamous Chopped basket, whose contents were mastered by Chef Phillip on a special weight loss episode of Chopped!
Now, I had always been a fan of Chopped, but as soon as the initial call had come in, I started watching every episode in order to gain knowledge and test my thinking abilities as each contestant opened their basket. Leah would make me tell her what I would fix as each basket was opened. It was a game, but it was also training. Every time we were driving down the road or simply relaxing with each other, Leah would call out a course (appetizer, for instance) and a list of ingredients some of them very off the wall and I had ten seconds to create a dish and call it out. It became second nature to think up a dish on the fly no matter what was in the imaginary basket. This preparation would be very beneficial when it came time to face the real baskets on the show.
Let’s jump to December now. Our trip was only three days away when I started having serious pain below my right shoulder, around my scapula, and up into the base of my neck. Knowing I was about to get on a plane, I scheduled an appointment to see my chiropractor who had always been able to help me before. This appointment would be different. I left his office feeling worse, but I knew that happens sometimes and then, a few hours later, you feel better as your muscles relax. Unfortunately, that was not the case this time. The following day, I was in so much pain I could hardly bear it. I had numbness in my right thumb and hand, shooting pain in my neck and shoulder and wrapping down my arm to my elbow; I couldn’t grip anything. So, I called my church and asked to be placed on the prayer chain. Within minutes, I had at least twenty prayer warriors sending up fervent prayers to the Lord. Nothing was going to stop me from getting on that plane!
The day finally arrived for me and Leah to fly to New York. I was still in pain, a lot of pain, but all I could do was put my faith in God, knowing He would get me through. We were concerned for my physical state, but we were also very excited to be off on our first trip to New York, all the more so because it was December, and I had always wanted to see the Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center.
We took the red-eye flight and arrived in New York on a brisk, wintery morning. After gathering our bags and hailing a cab, we set off for our hotel. What a place! I thought. The buildings all around us were monstrous, and the traffic was chaos. It was everything I had ever seen on television and then some. Our hotel was great, and the staff was very friendly and helpful. We made ourselves at home and then took care of the first order of business we checked out the neighboring restaurants and found a great little diner around the corner.