Memory: I was about eleven years old, walking in downtown Waterbury Conn. My friend and I each bought a slice of pizza (twenty cents). As always, it was delicious. After our last bites, we quickly headed across the street to a newsstand and bought a Hershey chocolate bar (five cents).
Thought: Even in my child’s mind, I remember thinking, “I am addicted to salt and sugar.” That hasn’t changed.
Comfort Foods: The foods I remember from my childhood as comforting were: candy, devil dogs, cookies after a meal, fresh fruit, the Dugan Man (he sold pastries on the street), the ice cream man, bagels with cream cheese, lox, onions, toasted bialys, bulkies, tuna on toast, potato chips, noodle koogle, and stuffed cabbage, to name a few. Oh yeah, and French toast made with Challah.
Vegetables: I didn’t grow up on many vegetables, at least not the fresh ones. My main memory of dinner veggies was watching my mother drop a boxed frozen plastic bag with broccoli and tons of butter into boiling water. If not that, we had a salad of iceberg lettuce, red onions and pale tomatoes.
A Different Kind of Comfort: Needless to say, the site of a bunch of fresh kale, or a glass of celery, cucumber, ginger juice does not comfort me in the way a toasted bagel used to. But seriously, I do love vegetables and healthy foods. I enjoy the physical and emotional effects they have on me and I appreciate my own experimentation with cooking.
Soup: I find a lot of comfort in a good bowl of homemade soup. I recently made a pot of carrot, broccoli, ginger soup which I partially pureed and at the end added a bit of almond milk for creaminess. The consistency was awesome: part creamy and part tiny particles of colorful veggies, so tiny they hardly required much chewing. I seasoned it with a combination of slightly sweet herbs. I think I ate three bowls the first night.
Realization: I am comforted knowing that I live in an area abundant with fresh produce, much locally and organically grown. I can walk to the farmer’s market and find all that I need to prepare a week’s worth of healthy meals. As I become a better and more versatile cook, I am comforted by my ability to feed, nourish, and provide for myself.
I would love to hear from you . Please feel free to share any thoughts you have including memories about your comfort foods.