Sunday, February 14, 2010

Comfort Food, Come Full Circle

So i've joined an exclusively Australian blog community called " Blog This! ", which is all about finding and sharing great Aussie blogs - and participating in blog post challenges. Basically an idea for a blog post is issued as a " challenge " and once you've completed your post on the topic hand, you link back to yourself on the Blog This! site and after an extensive find/read/vote, a winner is chosen. So good luck me! This weeks challenge reads thusly:

'Blog about your comfort food. What is it? Do you make it? How did you stumble upon it? Is it at your favourite restaurant? How does it make you feel ? Share a recipe, restaurant review or about the last time you ate it!'

To be quite honest with you, i didnt know that the concept of a " comfort " food existed until i became a regular viewer of reality tv. That is, it wasnt until every second episode of " Oprah " or " Dr Phil " mentioned comfort eating, or that " The Biggest Loser " exploded onto our screens with its cast of comfort eaters and comfort eating combatants ... well, before all that i just thought food was divided into foods you did like, and foods you didnt; foods you craved more than others and foods you wouldnt eat in a pink fit. But once the whole " comfort eating " concept, for better or worse, had been drummed into me i realised i've had a love affair with more than one comfort food throughout my life. Never more than one comfort food at a time though - that would be like cheating on your partner or lying to your Dad.

So where did i start ? Peanut butter. Or, more specifically, smooth peanut butter on white toast. It couldnt be the crunchy variety, and it couldnt be brown bread. Hell, it couldnt even be just 'bread ' - it had to be toasted. It happened in my teens - in the throes of a deep rooted depression ( which i had diagnosed yet, but thats another a story ) i would turn to the sweet, nutty, stick-to-the-roof-of-your-mouth goodness of humble peanut butter to make me feel better. To feel normal. I would come in from school and go straight to the bread bin, make me up some toast and slather it in peanut butter. I'd eat 5 or 6 pieces in one sitting and it would never fail to make me feel okay. Or full....

Fast forward a few years. I've finished high school, started medication, and am now working in a part-time retail job. I've given the humble peanut butter the flick. What's comforting me now? Tuna, avocado and lettuce sandwiches. I've upgraded from white bread to the far more complex multigrain, and have discovered the exotic, creamy delight that is avocado. I'd always enjoyed tuna sandwiches - but no brine, ok? - but the avocado just gave it that little something extra. I'd eat this same thing for lunch everyday, day in, day out. It was there when those pesky custmers were giving me hell and it was there when i was just so bored/tired/lazy i couldnt be bothered to make anything else. Tuna and avocado gave me that same sense of order and normalcy that peanut butter did - just in a so uch more grown up way.

A new adventure - now i'm living in the United States, working as an au pair. I'm on the opposite side of the world to everyone i know and love, and i've left the tuna sandwiches behind along with that stubborn depression. Where do i turn for comfort this time? This great little deli in the town where i live ( very originally called Towne Deli ) and their amazing chicken salad sandwiches. I eat so many of them that i no longer need to order them specifically, i just need to turn up and Roberto or Nathan or whomever i was behind the counter would say " The usual ? ". Yep - a chicken salad sandwich, lettuce, and tomato on a Portuguese roll. The chicken salad was comprised of diced chicken, finely chopped cucumber and this delicious mayonnaise who's ingredients were never revealed to me. It wasnt like anything i could get at home so i'm not quite sure how eased my homesickness, but somehow this chicken salad just " got " me. Thats what we all really want, right ?

Rewind to last year and a situation that practically guarantees i'm going to find a new food affair - i'm pregnant! I'm expecting to crave the cliche pickles-and-icecream combo but no - no crazy, far out, weird pregnancy cravings for me. Nope, just, well... devon. I'm kind of ashamed to admit that ( lets face it, devon is not exactly the rockstar of the deli meat world). I also had the tendency to exhale whole loaves of garlic bread in one go, but devon was the easiest, yummiest, bestest on the go snack during my pregnancy. A midwife tells me that craving salty, savoury foods like these mean i'm having a boy - and i do!

And now? My Flynn is 7 weeks old and where am i at? I'm back with my first real love - peanut butter. Its still the smooth kind only this time it has to be on multi grain toast. Its my breakfast staple and if i cant my beautiful boy to sleep or i'm pushed for time or he just wont for the love of God stop crying! - well sometimes its my lunch aswell.

My life my have changed forever, certain people and things may have come and gone, but i think peanut butter is here to stay.....


  1. Lovely entry. I love your concept of monogamy to a particular comfort food...

  2. Mmm, devon...

    Take 1 thin but not shaved, no must be round, round ,round, slice of devon. Put big dob of tomato sauce in middle. Fold in half, the half again to make little triangular devon sandwhich. Repeat ten more times.

    As I said: mmmm, devon...

  3. What's devon? I don't think I've heard of it. Or, maybe I have and I just don't remember. My number one comfort food has always been Chicken And Dumplings. I love it. It's the best. I don't get to eat it very often though. I don't know how to make it. The last time I had it, my mom came for a visit after I had Claire and made it for me.

  4. @Chantal - devon? You, my American friend, call it bologna....

  5. Oooh. I am totally bustin' out the peanut butter now. Yummy!

  6. O yeah, I here ya on the PB on toast. YUM. It was my two meals a day when my son was a newborn too. But for me it's gotta be crunchy.

  7. I so get the peanut butter on white toast thing, I used to do that too, and do enjoy the relapse when they happend! Great challenge entry and congrats on winning:)