April 11, 2006

Comfort Food

Apparently, I am all about the comfort today.

I just realized how I have been steadily getting more and more stressed out, stretched out, short-tempered and not-too-pleasant-to-be-around, if I'm honest with myself. A lot of things are on my plate right now and I'm not handling them as well as I ought to. Recently, I bristled at an essay in one of the last books I read about the popularity of comfort food in the restaurant biz. The author stated that comfort food is easy; it's for children, not discriminating adults. Here is my response:

I disagree. Grilled cheese sandwiches and macaroni and cheese are two of my favorite things. I don't eat them very often but when I do, I make sure it's worth it. No American cheese and white bread for me or the stuff from a blue box. I don't get them at restaurants either. No one else can make a grilled cheese sandwich with crusty cheese bits and slightly scorched bread just the way I like it. When I add some home made apple chutney, good bread and aged cheddar, it's pretty discriminating. And I highly doubt that most places would mix in a can of tuna and some frozen peas into my mac. By the way, isn't pasta con quatro formaggi just gourmet Italian M&C?

I'll admit that if I see mashed potatoes on a menu, I'm interested in what comes with it, even if I wasn't before. Sometimes, its presence is the deciding factor if I can't decide between what entrees I want. Granted, I'm not going to haute cuisine places or dropping $100 on dinner though either.

Every culture has it's "baby food" from mashed potatoes to polenta to congee to frijoles refritos. People like them because they taste good. Not every meal has to be a challenge, as the author whose name escapes me now, asserts. Sometimes all I want is a piece of cinnamon toast and some coffee milk both made by my mom in her sunny kitchen. One day, I'll hope to learn her just right combination of cinnamon, sugar, butter and bread.

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