Food Glorious Food

Chicken Soup. It’s the best treatment for the common cold, according to some researchers. The vegetables, the chicken, the heated water—it’s therapeutic. Many claim there’s a placebo effect: it only heals if you believe it will. And still others say there is no medicinal value in the recipe at all. But it’s irrelevant to me. When I’m not feeling well, my mother’s Matzo Ball Chicken Soup is my drug of choice. It’s more soothing than anything in my medicine cabinet.

Better still, it’s a remedy for all types of sniffles: those resulting from cold and flu season and those that come from the stress of work or family or general life craziness. One spoonful and I feel my body begin to rebuild.  Without a doubt, it’s my number one comfort food.

com·fort food ˈkəmfərt fo͞od/ noun noun: comfort food 1. food that provides consolation or a feeling of well-being, typically any with a high sugar or other carbohydrate content and associated with childhood or home cooking. (Oxford)

That definition sure rings true for me. I can remember my mother mixing together mysterious ingredients and producing a nectar that smelled like perfection. My husband’s comfort food, on the other hand, has no smell at all and comes ready-to-eat from a box. Frosted Flakes, 100 percent synonymous with childhood, remains on our shelf today and is a vestige from his youth when the cereal greeted him every morning.

Is there a food that brings you comfort? A recipe from your very ethnic Grandma? A mix of calories that would make your cardiologist cringe? A box from the grocery store shelf? Comfort foods usually bring contentment beyond their ingredients. They remind us of the people who created it or enjoyed the meal with us. Often, they are about our childhood.

If you have a special comfort food, share it when you write your memoirs. If there is a family story to accompany it, share that too. And definitely include the recipe to ensure the tradition is preserved (you can’t forget the dill after all!). Comfort foods are hard to come by and, like meals and life stories, should be shared with those we love.