Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Comfort Food

Comfort food. It brings to mind all kinds of culinary delights. It truly depends on the mood you're in as to which food really fills the need. It can be simple, homey or elegant fair. Comfort food invokes a sense of well being.

This, of course, feeds all those things a therapist and nutritionists worldwide work against. Food should not be a replacement for emotion. Repeat until it becomes your mantra. LOL. While I don't believe one should squirrel themselves up and make food their reason to live, I do believe there are foods that do lend comfort when consumed in moderation.

What kinds of delectible delights would you call comfort foods?

Mine, simple stuff. A cold crabcake and a slice of sourdough bread. Coupled with sitting at the beach with the waves pounding the surf and the wonderful smell of salt water in the air. You see, most of my comfort, also comes from the surroundings.

Chicken Jeruselem from Datilo's. It's a wonderful blend of fettucini, mushrooms and chicken in a marsala sauce. At home on a cold evening with a fire. It's usually cold outside and I need a little warmth.

My grandmother's goulash. With fresh baked bread and real butter, in my mom's kitchen surrounded by my sisters. That one hasn't been reproduced in a long time. I long to sit around a table with both of my incredibly talented sisters and have a bowl of goulash. We'd spend the afternoon talking of old times. Mostly remembering throwing all of our childhood belongings into yet another moving box and heading for who knows where, but it would still be good to connect.

Oatmeal. Not restaurant oatmeal. The real thing. My grandmother could cook a bowl of oatmeal everyone could love. It was her tried and true technique that made this wonderful breakfast delight. She never shared her recipes, so I have had to experiment to get it almost perfect, like hers.

Grandma's Oatmeal:

2 cups of water
1 tsp salt
1 and 2/3 cups of rolled oats

Add salt to water. Bring water to a boil. When boiling, add oats. Gently stir until just moistened. Remove from heat, cover with lid and let stand for about 8 minutes. Serve with your favorite oatmeal mix-in. (Brown sugar, butter, raisins, fresh fruit, milk or whatever you'd like) Serve.

This method should produce a flaky wonderful bowl of cooked oats. A bowl where almost every oat has its' own space in the bowl. It's not sticky or goupy, just flaky, light and very wonderful. Hope you enjoy it.

Now, what are some of your comfort foods?