When I say the phrase ‘comfort food’ you immediately think ______?
That is the question I posed on Facebook and Twitter and you all came out in force to answer it. 84 comments just on Facebook alone! Everything from meatloaf to ice cream, fried chicken to cobbler, BBQ to pasta. And my favorite comment of all…butter, just butter. Hilarious.
My personal favorite is probably grilled cheese, but the winner, hands down, appears to be macaroni and cheese. A very close second for me, especially if it’s that awful/wonderful Kraft macaroni and cheese in the blue box. Remember the commercial from when we were kids… “They should call it Kraft cheese and macaroni, ‘cause it’s the cheese sauce that makes it taste so good.” If you wanna call orange powder a cheese. Haha! But none of us cared back then.
Food is primal. Food is memories. And indeed, food is comfort. And it gets us into trouble sometimes. I don’t know about you, but I think about food all day. From when I wake up in the morning until I go to bed at night. Practically every hour I’m juggling, weighing, and fretting over what I can and cannot, should and should not, eat. I’m calculating a constant bargaining strategy.
Some of that is because I’m a dancer. Keeping my body fit is essential to my ability to move, and frankly, to be hired. I also have a twisted idea that if I’m heavier, people won’t believe that I’m a good dancer. (Ugh, the things we put in our heads.) I think willpower can help us a great deal in our attempt to control our intake, so can knowledge; information being the most powerful armor of all. But what is it about food that seems to override even our most deep wishes to avoid its pull? Why do I stuff my face time and time again even when I’m not hungry, even when I know what I’m eating is so very bad for me?
Do you ever feel like food is your drug? Well, guess what? It is. I strongly recommend Dr. David Kessler’s book, The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite.
In it he “cracks the code of overeating by explaining how our bodies and minds are changed when we consume foods that contain sugar, fat, and salt. Food manufacturers create products by manipulating these ingredients to stimulate our appetites”.
Not that we can blame all of our food issues and weaknesses on this truth, but after reading this book you will see food in a different way and you will learn how to rewire your conditioned stimuli to reach for those foods that you not only crave, but quite frankly, are addicted to.
I don’t want anyone thinking I posed that initial question on social media to trap you into admitting some sort of sinful food crisis in your life. I meant for it to be totally fun. And food should be fun. It should absolutely be satisfying. Our tables should be places of laughter and merriment and bonding. I was just moved and touched by the hearty response to the question and it made me think about some stuff.
Do allow food to be the marvelous, soulful experience it’s meant to be. Don’t let shame or guilt or my nagging little rant bring you down. Let them eat cake, I say!
Oh, and hey, if you really want to satisfy some comfort food cravings without killing your diet or your goals, get Ellie Krieger’s cookbook, Comfort Food Fix: Feel-Good Favorites Made Healthy. 150 truly delicious recipes including meatloaf, lasagna, chicken pot pie, crab cakes, mashed potatoes, and so much more.
Her stuff is great!
Food always makes me feel better when I am feeling like shit. Lasagna is my “Feel Better” food. What is your favorite?
Food–and dining–is probably where the majority of my fondest memories are based…dinners with friends (like you, Paige…or brunches with Bloody Mary’s, but why split hairs of the dog?).
Food is comforting, and nourishing, and…well, fun!
I can’t wait to get Ellie’s book…
Love you. Can’t wait to create more memories with you here in Pittsfield, MA!
I love food. I love it for all reasons. The food that makes me feel better no matter what though is macaroni and cheese.