Since becoming pregnant I have been on a pregnancy forum ‘birth club’ and I find it equal parts helpful, annoying, infuriating, depressing, and amusing. The people that have signed on to the group are all due in November so we are all in the same stage of pregnancy, give or take a few weeks. To be honest, I just go to the forum out of boredom more than anything else since this is round two for me and I don’t really want to put extremely personal questions to a forum. If I have questions I will ask my midwife.
One of the common forum threads relates to what pregnant women can and cannot eat. I am far less uptight about what I eat and don’t eat this time around. Since I felt so sick for about 8 weeks, I pretty much just ate whatever I wanted. If I wanted a ham sandwich that has the verboten deli meat, I ate it. I also have a cup of real coffee every morning. If I don’t, I get a splitting headache. You will see me in line at Starbucks with my big belly ordering a tall dark roast and giving people the stink eye if they raise an eyebrow about it.
Some of the women on the pregnancy forum let their pregnancy hormones and inner fears take control over them sometimes and post, what to me are amusing threads on the forum. To the woman who posted, “I just ate a hotdog. I’m so worried.” Don’t worry. The only thing I worry about when I eat a hotdog is getting mustard on my shirt. You will be fine. To the woman who posted, “I had bacon on my sandwich, is my baby ok?” Yes. Your baby is fine and thank you for the reminder that a BLT is a great idea for lunch.
Some of the other posts in the forum definitely lead to me becoming infuriated. To the women whose husbands and partners are total jackasses, I am very sorry that you have to put up with that crap in your life, let alone while you are dealing with the physical and emotional challenges of pregnancy. Here are some examples of what some of those poor women have to go through as they suffer through morning sickness:
- One husband yelled at his wife to keep it down because she woke him up as she was dry heaving all night and he had to get up for work in a couple hours. I told Simon that if he had said something like that I would throw up on his pillow.
- Another charmer told his wife that the nausea is just in her head and that other women don’t get sick like that.
- One that really pissed me of was the husband that told his wife that she asked for this because she wanted a baby. That would be throat punch territory in my house.
- A personal favourite is the husband who asked his wife if she had just tried to stop feeling sick. Because, yeah, that’s the trick to it all. The temptation to bang my head against the wall was quite strong after reading that gem.
After reading that thread I felt a compulsion to go upstairs to where my husband was working on the recipe index plugin for my blog, and give him a big hug. He has not said one thing to make me feel bad about being near useless around the house. He just laughed and shook his head in despair for the tools he shares a gender with.
I’m not totally lackadaisical about what I eat. I do know that there are things that should be avoided but North Americans tend to get a little more uptight about the pregnancy rules than other countries. I did screw up recently though. As I was making the rhubarb mousse, I realized that I really shouldn’t be eating this because it contains raw egg whites. I kept on making it and when it was done, I actually ate one of the servings. I know, it was risky behaviour and I too had a minor freak out at my recklessness. No need to comment and give me shit about my foolhardiness. I kicked my own ass well enough. I texted Simon mid-freak out in between googling the risks of raw egg whites to pregnant women. I messaged him that I made the rhubarb mousse and ate some and that I shouldn’t have because raw egg whites could contain salmonella. I told him that I’m worried that I’m going to get salmonella poisoning and it will kill the baby. The next message sent with my thumbs of fury told him that the dessert was delicious and he will love it. Because he was in a meeting, he really only saw the last message and not the mini-freak out, so his reply was, “Nice.”
I messaged again to let him know that he was supposed to reassure me that everything will be fine and that I’m not going to get salmonella poisoning. He dutifully told me that it will be fine and I could even eat more if I wanted, which I did not. I was not going to tempt fate.
Next time I make this recipe, I will definitely use pasteurized egg whites (even though the concept weirds me out), to be on the safe side. I will save the egg whites and freeze them and use them in a pavlova on another day. The egg yolks are cooked in this, so don’t worry about that. If you do make this recipe the normal way, just make sure that you use very fresh eggs but know that there is a very small risk involved if you eat raw egg whites. Simon ate 4 bowls of the dessert, I ate one and Timothy ate part of one and we were all just fine.
I want to add that a new forum thread was started honouring how awesome many husbands and boyfriends are towards their pregnant women. There are a lot of jackasses but there are so many wonderful men out there doing the dishes, making dinner, and putting kids to bed without complaint.
So, have you ever eaten anything that you know you shouldn’t have – pregnant or not? Feel free to also add any praise for your awesome partner who helped you get through something difficult – like a barfy first trimester of pregnancy.
This recipe was adapted from Martha Stewart Living Magazine – Tangerine Chiffon Pie
A tangy and sweet rhubarb mousse that is the perfect ending to any early summer meal.
20 minPrep Time
40 minCook Time
1 hrTotal Time
- 2 cups chopped rhubarb
- 1 cup water
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 vanilla bean, split
- 1 cup rhubarb syrup
- 4 eggs, separated*
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp unflavoured gelatin powder
- In a medium saucepan, add the chopped rhubarb, 1/3 cup sugar, water and vanilla bean.
- Cook over medium heat, until the rhubarb is very mushy. About 20 minutes.
- Set a fine mesh sieve over a heat-proof bowl and drain the contents of the pot through the sieve. Rinse any bits out of the pot if that is the pot you plan to use to make the rest of the mousse. No need to wash it.
- Measure the liquid in a glass measuring cup and discard the mushy rhubarb and vanilla bean. You should have one cup of syrup. If you have less, add a smidge of water to top it up and if you have more, then just use one cup and save the excess for a cocktail or to add to some sparkling water.
- Sprinkle the gelatin over the lemon juice in a small bowl and set it aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk the egg yolks with 1/2 cup of the sugar while slowly adding some of the warm rhubarb syrup to temper the eggs.
- Add the tempered egg yolks to a medium saucepan with the rest of the rhubarb syrup.
- Over a medium low heat, whisk the rhubarb mixture constantly until it starts to thicken. This should take about ten minutes but pay close attention to it and don't let it boil. It will change from a splashy liquid, to going quite frothy. When it starts to get frothy, that means that it is close to being done. Remove it from the heat and let the froth die down a bit and check to see if the rhubarb mixture is done by coating the back of a wooden spoon with it and running your finger through it. If your finger mark remains, it is ready. If the liquid starts to run back together, keep cooking it for a little while longer.
- Off the heat, whisk in the bloomed gelatin.
- Pour the rhubarb mixture into a medium metal bowl, preferably one that sits well inside another larger bowl.
- Either place the rhubarb mixture in the fridge for 25-30 minutes and check it frequently to monitor how it is thickening and to stir it often. When it feels quite cool to the touch and it has visibly thickened to the point that the lines made when you stir it don't disappear right away, you can take it out of the fridge. The faster way to cool it down is to put lots of ice and water in a larger bowl and set the bowl with the rhubarb mixture in it and whisk constantly for about 5 minutes. It will cool down quickly and start to thicken much faster. Once it starts to thicken and is cold to the touch, take the rhubarb mixture bowl out of the ice water bowl. Set it aside. If it continues to get thick, just whisk it vigorously before you add the beaten egg whites.
- In a clean bowl, whisk the egg whites using a stand mixer or electric beaters until very frothy and then slowly start adding the other 1/2 cup of sugar as you continue to whisk. Keep beating the egg whites until you get stiff peaks.
- Take 1/4 of the stiff egg whites and stir it into the cold, thickened rhubarb mixture to lighten it up a little bit.
- Once the first bit of egg whites is incorporated, add the rest of the egg whites and gently fold the egg whites in using a rubber spatula until there are no streaks of the darker rhubarb mixture.
- Once the two parts are incorporated, spoon the mousse into 6 dessert bowls or champagne glasses and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.
- Serve with a dollop of lightly sweetened whipped cream.
Use pasteurized egg whites if serving this to anyone who shouldn't eat raw egg whites. Save the four egg whites and freeze them to be used in a recipe that calls for cooked egg whites, such as a pavlova.
Meg Robins de Haan says