Just an update.
First off, either my dentist is a genious (quite likely) or others have made more of this procedure than there is.
I was in the chair about 2 1/2 hours. A little longer than I've heard, but maybe that's why I'm in better shape? Following his instructions, I took a pain pill as soon as I got home, before the novacain wore off. I took a second one, on schedule. And should have taken at least one more, but fell asleep before it was due.
Woke up yesterday morning with virtually no pain. And not enough swelling to even mention.
So, so far, the worst part of the procedure was the taste of the topical anesthetic he used before administering the shots. And getting used to the fact there are no teeth there. I keep wanting to use them.
So far as food. Tuesday I had puddings, jello, and liquids. Yesterday I had more or less real food, so long as it didn't require chewing. For lunch I made steamed pot sticker in broth, for instance. For dinner I made a tuna tortilla topped with caponata. Also discovered that I can handle quick breads, so long as I break them into small pieces first. Been gorging on my pumpkin-cheese bread, for instance.
Haven't decided on lunch for today, yet. But I'm planning a Tortilla Espanole for this evening. And will be trying Chris' shiitake flans as well.
Based on all this I'm guessing that as soon as the gums start to heal and harden up there won't be too many things I won't be able to eat. Maybe not steak and corn on the cob until the dentures go in, but no a whole lot less than that either.
Thanks again to everyone for your suggestions and well wishes.