I think of myself as pretty open minded. I’m a live and let live kind of girl. What’s good for the goose might just disgust the gander. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. To each his own. The clichés go on.
But I have to say I truly do not understand people who do not find comfort in food and I think there is something fundamentally flawed about them.
Recently, a friend’s son got some pretty bad news about his chosen career path, and despite having worked hard for it for many years, it simply isn’t going to happen for him. This is a very sad thing, and he and my friend are both pretty upset about it. My instinct, borne from a long, unbroken line of generations of Jewish Mothers before me, is to feed a problem. You know the old saying: feed a fever, starve a cold, and shove comfort food down the throat of anyone who needs comforting.
This particular friend, who is so tiny she could hide behind one of my thighs, rejected my suggestions of chocolate and pies and cinnamon buns, because she knew good and well her son wouldn’t want to eat, as she wouldn’t want to eat in a stressful and/or depressing situation. I made her promise to make him eat something, even if it was just a carrot stick or a piece of dry toast. You need your strength to get through this, bubbelah.
Food is such a sensual pleasure for me. I admit I feel sorry for people for whom it is only fuel. I not only require the caffeine in a cup of coffee every morning, but I truly take delight in the smoky, earthy, dark taste. I’ll hold a mouthful for a while before swallowing it, just so I can continue to enjoy the flavor. I’ll bet you didn’t know that different parts of your tongue taste different flavors – sweet, salty, savory, bitter, etc. (As an aside, that’s a fun thing to do with your kids – blindfold them, and with a Q-Tip put things like lemon juice, salt, and sugar on different parts of their tongue and see if they can figure out which parts of the tongue are in charge of which flavors. In addition to the scientific merit, it is HILARIOUS when they get a flavor they don’t like on this sensitive part of their tongues.) So if you pay attention, you can pick out the different types of flavors that make up each food. I think they call this mindful eating. I call it delicious. There are so few pure sensual joys in life that are not only legal but workplace-appropriate and that you can do in front of your children without embarrassment. Why would you not want to enjoy what you are eating every time you could? And how could this enjoyment not give you pleasure and comfort?
I mean, really. On a cold day when the cold is in your bones, don’t you just crave a bowl of chili? And aren’t there those days in which a DQ Dilly Bar really does make everything better? I just want to smack people who turn down a piece of birthday cake. How could you not want to have a physical manifestation of the sweetness and joy of life while celebrating another year on this planet? (Especially if that birthday cake happens to be made by the Lemon Tree in Loganville. No, they did not pay me for the plug, it is sincere, but if they decided they might want to give me a lemon raspberry cupcake as a thank you, I’d take it.) I will give the gluten free people a pass, but people who just say, “oh, I shouldn’t!”? That’s a misdemeanor folks. (And, as long as we are regulating the consumption (or not) of birthday cake, it also oughtta be a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature to serve chocolate cake without milk. Brownies, too.)
With the cold weather coming, it is comfort food season. I’m talking about soups and stews, home made meatloaf, turkey and dressing, oatmeal, and lovely pies of all kinds. (Especially if that pie happens to be one made by Joann Ellstein of Purely Simple Catering – Joann, I’d like a Chocolate Cream.) It is a tough world out there, people. Take comfort where you can.