Enough Comfort

Mac_n_cheese_005_1

At
least it’s not just me. There is “Comfort Food” displayed all over the
front of this month’s Indy Monthly, in the form of a huge headline and some sort
of pasta casserole, my most recent email from fromages.com trumpets the advent
of a “comforting cheeseboard”, and
even upscale Dean & DeLuca is in on the act, their “comfort food” including spendy mac and cheese and even spendier
lobster pot pie.

So
I am not the only one reveling in the white, refined foods that match the pale
winter landscape. I’d like to think that
my recent binges on raclette, macaroni and cheese, pasta with butter and
parmesan, and (am I really going to admit this on a food blog?) tuna noodle
casserole are just due to the chilly weather, but the truth is, my current diet
is all about emotional solace. Talk
about not eating for the right reasons.

As
I have mentioned, oh too many times, the last several months have not been too
great around here. Losing one of our
sweet dogs and trying to stay one step ahead of my mom’s illness have really
whomped me. I went to the doctor
recently miserable with a stuffy head and I don’t remember exactly what I told
him, but when I caught a peek at the diagnosis on my chart, it said “sinus
infection and grief reaction.” He only
prescribed an antibiotic, though. I had to come up with the carbs on my own.

And
boy, have I ever. Comfort food for me is
the kind of food that makes me feel cozy while I am eating it. Nurtured
and cared for and replete. Noodles are good for this. Butter is good.
Cheese is better. Sometimes comfort food is food that is just
familiar. Childhood food. The Lebanese foods that meant something
really special when I was small, the cinnamony smell of my dad’s spaghetti
sauce
, the mustard tang of my mom’s potato salad, and the spicy crunch of my
grandma’s molasses ginger cookies.

Comfort
food can’t come in small portions, either. It’s almost always the case that the reason I need it is that there is
not enough of something precious – not enough time, not enough of me, not enough
energy or love or sleep. So comfort food
has to make up the deficit. There has to be plenty
— enough that I can fall asleep with a full belly, believing that tomorrow
will be a better day.

Of
course, now I am dealing with the after effects of too many comfort meals,
which is to say I am FAT! Sluggish. Slow
of thought and heavy of spirit, with cream sauce running in my veins. Time for a change
.

6 Comments Add yours

  1. I’m sorry to hear times have been so tough for you. I’ve had plenty of white-food phases myself, only to find my heart was still heavy and my clothes no longer fit. Healthy eating, exercise and time, however, always lighten the load and brighten the mood. That said, where’s the recipe for tuna noodle casserole? I’m not ashamed to say that I LOVE that dish!

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  2. Alanna says:

    Ah yes, the times when cooking and eating are about the only things over which you feel control … be well, when it’s time. In the mean time, be …

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  3. Thanks, guys. Lisa, there is no recipe for tuna noodle casserole, it is totally comfort cooking — a little of this, a little of that. But the last time I made it I found something that definitely makes a difference — use imported tuna packed in olive oil. Makes it rich and wonderful — Yum!!
    Hadn’t thought about the control aspects, Alanna, but I am sure you are right. Sigh…

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  4. Kevin says:

    I think white comfort foods on cold, black days are great! Just the process of planning and preparing them can lift you a bit. Just remember to pull back before the comfort food itself adds to your problems. They are like antibiotics that you must be mindful not to overdo, or you risk them becoming ineffective.
    I’ll continue to hold good thoughts for you and your family while you work through this tough time.

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  5. christine, your family is still in my thoughts over the loss of zoe, and now with your mom and her struggle. that being said, i come from a big italian family where restraint + feeding have never met. food has always meant comfort in my family, like most families i would imagine. my mother’s mantra could be something akin to “butter heals all wounds”.
    we’re a very round people as a whole…

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  6. Kristen says:

    It does sound like you are having a lot of things hit you at once. Turning to comfort food when its cold and in times like these is normal! Your pasta dish looks fantastic. Wish I had some to comfort me right now 🙂

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