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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Comfort Food-

I had a very nice childhood. I often wish I had been aware of just how nice it was, but the anxiety and trauma of every childhood is immediate and fills the entire universe with its awfulness. Those of us who were so blessed still had to find ways to manage the rough passages.

For me it was books and barbecue potato chips. I would often stop by the library on the way home from school and pick up a volume of science fiction. Further along my way I would stop by the store and get a box of barbecue potato chips. Three bags in the box, all for $.79.

It was another time.

So, I would take my treasures home and go to my room. I would open a bag of chips and prop it up in the box and set it next to the bed. I would then sprawl on the bed, propping up the book on my pillow. I would read and munch, often for hours.

I had my own room. My own room! I really didn't know how great a gift that was for my parents to provide for me. A space all my own, a space larger than what some entire families might live in. A warm, dry, well lighted space in which to read and enjoy a snack.

Now, decades and many pounds later, I still love reading and I still love barbecue potato chips. Even knowing how bad they are for me I often indulge in way too many chips. I love them.

As a child I also really liked spaghetti. It was only an occasional meal in our household, but when it was on the table I would eat until it hurt. Literally.

Eventually growing up I learned that one of the real treats of being your own boss was being free to eat whatever you might want. Needless to say, I have eaten a lot of spaghetti in my adult years. Inexpensive, easy to make (if you so wished), and not particularly demanding.

I never established a meaningful relationship with brocolli. That is unfortunate. Indeed, most vegetables only become my friend if they are encorporated into a sauce you can pour over a big pile of noodles. I have gotten better about this by small increments, but probably will not live long enough to build a bond in which brocolli brings me comfort.

For some people it might be pot roast, or some particular kind of soup. It might be a chowder, or a particularly good bread. Whatever it is, it is likely that the sight and smell and flavor of that comfort food is associated with some pleasant emotions. The love of a mother, or a grandmother, or someone equally special. The security of family and friends, of home and community. Perhaps a special place.

We all have to eat. It is nice that sometimes eating can be more than just eating. It can be comforting. That's very nice, indeed.


Pam said...

Oh my gosh, you sound just like me. I loved reading and eating barbecue chips together! That was how I spent most of my summers.

Tom said...

bbq chips are a sometimes thing for me--partial to curly chips.

...and peas. Not a brocolli fan (its ok in chinese dishes) but i can eat a whole can of nuked peas in one sitting. Yum.

i grew up on hand-me-down sci-fi myself. nothing better.