Comfort Food

Comfort food, by definition, brings comfort. 

I mean, there it all is in the description. I like to ask people about their favorite comfort foods. Not because I need to hear people talk about food. But, because generally when they are telling me about their favourite foods, they tell me another story about themselves.

My comfort food from my mom is her Cesar salad dressing. It's made in an old-fashioned way. Oil, anchovies, egg yolk, and the rest. For me, it is more about watching her make it, and the freedom that she gives herself to relax while she's making it. It's darn tasty, too.

With my Aunt (my dad's oldest sister) it is her funeral potatoes (also called hashbrown casserole). I have always loved to eat it, and it meant that I was back on my home turf with her. 

My other aunt (my dad's older brother's wife) is rice. Just plain white rice with butter and salt. Not that she couldn't cook. She can, quite well actually. The rice was more about being my part-time "other" family. In my regular life, it was me and my mom. With my aunt, uncle, and cousins, I was a part of them. My younger cousin had a lot of food aversion and rice with butter was always there, old faithful. 

My dad BBQs a mean steak. When I was a child my dad worked as a trucker with a paving company. In the summer I rarely got to see him. But every once in a while (usually a long weekend) he would come to pick me up and we would have steak and sliced baked potatoes. Lots of bbq sauce on the steak and even more butter on the potatoes. 

More comfort than food is this story. My husband and I do most of the cooking together. When we first moved in together, he was out of town a lot. One day he was coming home and I decided I should make ribs. Kept in mind I don't eat pork and had never cooked ribs before. So I got out the Company's Coming cookbook on meat and found a recipe that involved three things: BBQ sauce, the ribs, and a crockpot. The ribs we had were frozen, so at first, a chunk was sticking out of the crockpot, until they had cooked enough for the whole rack to fit in. I don't remember if he liked them or not. Just that it was the first big meal I ever made for him on my own. I also screwed up rice. But that is a story for another day. 

Comfort food usually means more calories, more fat, more salt. But, every once in a while it is all that will do.

Comfort food and comfort music. They work together. For my purposes today let's go with that. Memory is a fascinating thing. A song, or smell, or food, can trigger any number of experiences. Even in the Quietest Moments by Supertramp has always had the power to calm me all the way down. From the first chirps of the birds, I can feel the stress starting to flow away. As the synthesizer comes in, and then the horn I am ready to let it go. The album of the same name was released in 1977 and is not the band's biggest single. A lot of critics called this song cheesy and schlocky, I call it relaxation. When I was a teenager my mom told me then when she was pregnant with me she would play this song over and over. I guess it's a memory from way back. I wonder if it had the same effect on me then. 


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