There has been an enormous need for comfort in my life of late. A dreadful run of family illnesses, close, old friends dealing more than one death in the family and even joyous occasions have given me cause to indulge in, and more importantly to provide, comfort to those around me.
In my world comfort foods are those that bring me back to my childhood, sitting around the family table or around the TV watching "Wheel of Fortune" and "Jeopardy" with my mom and sister. To say I have a few favorite comfort foods is an understatement. A few dozen might be closer to the accurate. Things like thick, chunky soups with crusty bread for dipping, french toast covered in butter and powdered sugar, and mounds of mashed potatoes and gravy on the side of juicy fried chicken with a perfect crisp crust are all foods that make me long for the days of climbing into mommy's bed getting lost in her beautiful white fluffy comforter. I remember staying home sick from school and being in mommy's bed enrobed in the comforter with an orange soda, in a glass bottle, in one hand and a book in the other.
I think memories like this are why comfort foods are just that; comforting. They tend to remind us of care free times, of moments in our lives when all we had to do was eat simple foods, enjoy one another with an evening of game shows or board games, and play outside in the street until dark came and parents called us home. They are usually warm, starchy not-so-healthy foods, foods that might need a little extra time to bake or simmer, and they always fill us with, or help to remove us from, whatever we need as we partake, whether it be love, remembrance, sorrow, or simply time we've lost and yearn to grasp again even if only for a moment.
While each of us finds comfort in varying things including, but not limited to food favorites, my wish for all of you is that your need for comfort is limited, but when you need to be comforted, you find just the right memory and accompanying meal to wrap you in warmth and take you home, wherever that is for you.
NEXT WEEK: For the love of chocolate!