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Saturday, March 24, 2012

Comfort Foods

I've been on a diet of late, trusting that I will lose the extra pounds that crept on over this past winter. It's pretty clear that my weight increases when I don't exercise, especially now that I'm in my 50's. Thanks to Chris, I eat healthy foods that are delicious since he's the main cook in the kitchen...and an excellent cook, at that! But now the weight has got to come off. To do so is healthier for me overall and economically smart because soon I will be able to fit into all my clothes again. BTW, my diet-of-choice is to count Weight Watcher points. I don't go to any WW meetings or anything. I just rely on my own 'usually' strong will to stick to the plan.

Whenever I diet I often ponder food in general. Chris and I have been talking about some of the foods that I like to indulge in at least once in every blue moon or so. They're my childhood comfort foods. He says he doesn't really have 'childhood comfort foods' like I do. He finds it interesting that I do. I find it interesting that he does not, or at least cannot think of any. Childhood comfort foods are the foods that remind me of times past; remind me of people I miss. In the parentheses that follow, I've included the people and/or memories I undoubtedly think of when I eat these foods. Included on this list is: cake, especially with buttercream icing (my Ma); tuna noodle casserole (my Ma); potato salad made with Hellmann's mayonnaise...NEVER imho-yucky Miracle Whip (my Ma); eggs over-easy (my Dad); large California oranges (my Dad); hot cross buns (being raised Catholic); Russell Stover's pink with yellow flower, strawberry cream Easter egg treats (my Dad, Easter); large, shrimp with tangy cocktail sauce (my Dad, New Year's Eve); pickled relish and tiny pickles (Aunt Loraine)...and no doubt there's many more such foods, tho' what I've listed are the biggies in my life.

Often, when I think about or eat these foods, I remember particular incidences. I remember that Ma would let me lick the beaters and use a spoon to scrape the bowl when she'd make icing. In fact, the actual bowl she'd use was mauve-red with speckles, fashioned out of melamine. She had a set of two bowls, one smaller than the other. I so hankered to someday have those bowls, but alas, they either got thrown out or sold in a garage sale by one or the other of my brothers. Funny, but often the things that are most meaningful to me are things that others cannot even fathom being priceless. In any case, I now realize that this was the way Ma tried to show her love and that's what I equate cake with. Cake = love.

I remember my Dad with egg yolk that got stuck to his grizzly whiskers when he happily devoured over-easy eggs. Over-easy eggs = love.

I think of my Dad's fondness for oranges, especially what he termed the really good ones, which usually meant they were huge, expensive, and that we probably couldn't afford them too often. I still cut my oranges in half without peeling, just as Dad did. Oranges = love.

Etc.

So, it's obvious that certain foods = love for me. Nothing fancy. Nothing outlandish. Nothing unusual. Just the pure pleasure of eating foods that help remind me of people and events, giving me comfort throughout all my years in this body on this planet. What are your favorite childhood comfort foods? Inquiring minds want to know! Thanks!!     

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