Sunday, September 19, 2010

Comfort Foods

As the days grow short, some faces grow long.  But not mine.  Every autumn, when the wind turns cold and darkness comes early, I am suddenly happy.  It's time to start making soup again.  --Leslie Newman

Yesterday was my cooking day so my entire day was spent slaving over the stove.  There was a time when I loved to cook; why, I'd make everything from homemade noodles for a Polish meal to a 3 course Chinese meal, but those days are long gone.  Today, I absolutely hate cooking.  That's why I try to get it all done on one day.  It's always easier, though, when the cooler weather comes round, and it is during the fall and winter that I still get a bit daring with my foods...and it is in winter that I lean more towards my comfort foods.

Comfort foods, those satisfying, healing comfort foods that warm and strengthen us, healing us from the inside out. A comfort food may also trigger positive memories of childhood meals or other occasions.; it is any food that makes one feel safe, loved, and satisfied.  We turn to them when we are feeling sad, unwell, or otherwise depressed, and we turn to them as the weather begins to cool down each year. We all have comfort foods that we seek out.  They don’t have to be warm and hearty.  For some people, it is a box of chocolates; for others, it may be a bowl of spaghetti.  When I have a cold all I want is some homemade chicken soup, and when I am really stressed and feeling down, it is bowls and bowls of Rocky Road Ice Cream...topped with chocolate syrup and gobs and gobs of whipped cream.

"For the millions of us who live glued to computer keyboards at work and TV monitors at home, food may be more than entertainment. It may be the only sensual experience left."--Barbara Ehrenrich

Having learned the value of comfort goods when I was young, one of my favorite memories of comfort foods is from childhood.  As you all know, I spent all my childhood weekends at my grandparents' home...a place of peace and serenity, of joy, a place to retreat from the dysfunctional family life I had to endure Monday through Friday.  And grandma always made sure she had my favorite foods.  Ironically, for a child, you would think it was cookies and ice cream, but on the contrary, my favorite comfort food was Campbell's Bean with Bacon soup.  On Saturday night we'd put on the television, and I'd sit between my grandparents eating a bowl of soup and a glass of soda.  Sadly, the Bean with Bacon soup I bought not so long ago tasted NOTHING like the one I remember. It was bland and tasteless....another victim of the new health conscious form of eating...not that I don't want to be healthy, but some things are best left alone.

There is a factory near where I live; I don't know what they make, but there are times when the entire area smells like cotton candy...the scent of which reminds me of Bertrand Island Amusement Park, one of my favorite childhood places to go. And this is the time of the year that the supermarket starts selling candy apples, one of the classic treats of autumn. I yearn to enjoy one, but it has been so many years; I just can't bite them anymore.  

And then there is the lunches of tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches which tasted so good after a morning of play in the crisp autumn air.  Grandma also used to make pancakes which she smothered with chicken and gravy.  

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The scent of cinnamon in an apple pie always reminds me of October and Halloween. I have always loved the fall and the aromas that meant the heat of summer was finally fading into cooler night air ...perhaps even a little chill. And apple cinnamon cookies at Christmas. Cinnamon is one of those scents that you can never get enough of.  I always keep cinnamon candles of hand; it is a scent that gives me a sense of comfort and takes me back to the days when I had fewer cares and the unknowns of life were something to look forward to.

What childhood comfort food do you yearn for the most? 

Food for thought is no substitute for the real thing.--
Walt Kelly


  1. -chuckle- I have a hard time with the topic of Comfort Foods.

    1) I can't eat hardly anything in that category, any more. For various health issues. To disregard this, would shorten my life span and make me very sick, meanwhile.

    2) I haven't been able to eat comfort foods like fudge and the like, for so long now, that I hardly even remember them.

    Actually, that's good, isn't it? One doesn't miss [as much] what one doesn't really remember the taste of. :-)

  2. My mom's cooking. She pased away last spring and it still seems as all her cooking was comforting. All of it.
    But since it is now out of my reach, I'll have to say soup. Like you, I like the days getting colder because it means bowls of steaming soup. Almost any soup. :)

  3. Bought a pretty pie dish at the thrift shop next door to the groomers on Thursday.
    Bought the apples Saturday.
    I see an apple pie in my future tomorrow or the next day. YUM!

    I luvs me foods like Popeye loved spinach. :0)

  4. I'm sitting here laughing Mary at your Campbell's Bean with Bacon Soup...when I was a kid I used to tell my Sisters that when I grow up I want a bathtub filled with Campbell's Bean -n- Bacon soup, lol! NO KIDDING!!!

    Soup for me is a comfort food too...especially Chili now that Campbell's doesn't taste so great, or a good Chicken or Potato Soup but I am one of those peeps that does not care if it is hot out or not...if I want soup I make it? Thank Goodness for A.C.!

    I loved your descriptions of comfort foods evoked many memories for me...Making MeatPies (Pasties) with my Grandma and Aunts, which was a whole day process in our family as it was a whole family event! We'd have soooo much fun!

    Delightful remembrances Mary and Thank You for sharing your world with us again today!

    Wishing for You, Foods that Heal Your Insides!

  5. Mmmmmmm, bean and bacon soup. I have an awesome recipe I make several times during the Autumn and Winter. It's my signature "it's chilly out" dish.

  6. Soup is my comfort food. I would be thrilled to eat soup everyday, maybe a plate of nachos now and then. Potato soup is my all time favorite and then bean with ham and of course you have to have fresh hot corn bread with that. Wishing you a beautiful week!


  7. I have slowly accumulated the makings for a pot of stew and have been waiting for a cooler day to put it on... Although I was in the grocery store yesterday and I could feel the urge to bake a turkey coming on. It seems every year I have to hold it back or I will have an early thanksgiving dinner.. :-)