Spicy chicken & pasta

Both my kiddo and I have what’s known in our family as the Swenson nose. This feature, passed down through my grandma Gladys’ side of the family, is – aesthetically speaking – a positive.

In fact, a man claiming to be a plastic surgeon once approached me in the mall and boldly asked if I’d come to his office so he could photograph my nose for his “book of noses,” the catalog his clients choose from when selecting a new schnoz. I declined; I was busy with college finals and didn’t think I’d have the time. (This story sounds even creepier in hindsight, and I’m fairly certain my photos would have ended up in several of the man’s various books of body parts.)

But while the Swenson nose is small and cute, it’s not the most practical.

I wear glasses, and there’s just not much nose there to help hold them up. Cloth masks pose a similar problem. The kiddo and I have wider jaws, so in order to find masks that fit the rest of our faces, we have to make MacGyver-like adjustments so the masks stay put over our noses.

And then there are the inner workings of our noses, which likely resemble a clown car; there’s a lot of anatomy to fit in a smaller-than-usual space. And the kiddo and I have allergies, to boot.

Moral of the story? We’re pretty much always stuffed up.

This poses challenges in the age of COVID-19, when many of our allergy-related issues – nasal congestion, sore throat, coughing – all are on the list of common COVID symptoms.

“People still get sick with things other than COVID,” my kiddo’s doc reminded me when we were checking on my son’s sinus infection the other week. Try explaining that to the people shooting you dirty looks when you so much as clear your throat in the produce section at the store.

We’re doing our best to keep our allergies at bay, and this includes eating a lot of spicy foods to clear out our little noses. This spicy chicken pasta, a blend of Italian and Creole, is a favorite – but not for the faint of heart.

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