The comforting magic of a chocolate chip cookie
Guest post by Kelli Herlevi.
When I hear the words, “comfort food”, two things come to mind. First, I think of the comfort food that I had on hand in August 2005, when we lived in Mississippi and experienced Hurricane Katrina. I had a huge bag of Tootsie Rolls in the storage room that I had purchased to donate to the local school for a fund raising activity. Luckily for me, I had not yet made the donation to the school before the storm hit. We did not have to evacuate but we were without power for 8 days. With all of the downed trees and the gas shortages, we were not able to leave our home so we had to make do with what we had on hand. Those Tootsie Rolls were magic for boosting my spirits as well as so many kids and adults through the neighborhood.
The other aspect of comfort food that comes to my mind is the comfort food we experienced in 2004, when my father died unexpectedly of a massive stroke at the age 58. Because he died so suddenly, we were not prepared at all to deal with death and the craziness that comes with gathering family, making decisions, planning for a funeral and burial, and taking care of children along the way. Many, many people showed up with food of all kinds. With so many decisions and distractions, I completely forgot to feed my children. I had no appetite and feeding the little ones completely slipped my mind.
After a few days I realized there was so much food around, yet the only thing I wanted was a cookie. Just a regular, old, chocolate chip cookie. Gratefully, a kind neighbor delivered. I have never tasted a more satisfying cookie in all my life. That was all I needed to take a break for a few minutes and regroup so that we could continue to mourn and plan. One of the most important things that I learned was that when someone passes away and a family mourns–take food (preferably food that freezes well). My mother was able to feed her children and grandchildren for those few difficult days as well as feed herself for several weeks while she mourned and adjusted to the changes that death brings to a family.
Comfort food is soothing during times of fatigue, illness, or stress, and we often don’t realize its importance until we are in the middle of a crisis. Comfort foods differ from person to person and from family to family. Typically these foods are something that was served during a person’s childhood and they elicit fond memories. They are ofen high in carbohydrates. I’m not sure why!
Your food storage pantry should include ingredients to make the foods that are important to you and your family. They might be:
- Macaroni and Cheese (homemade, of course)
- Fried Chicken (can be served warm or cold)
- Apple Pie (what’s more American than pie?)
- Pizza (cold pizza is my favorite)
- Chicken Soup
- Mashed Potatoes (reminds us of holidays and family)
- Chicken Pot Pie
- Chicken and Dumplings
What are your favorite comfort foods? What foods would put a smile on the faces of your loved ones in the middle of a crisis?
I heard someone say recently that their idea of comfort food was liver and onions. It reminded them of their Southern roots. It reminded me of the end of the world!
Comfort food is different for everyone. Don’t worry too much about what to offer someone in terms of comfort food. You would probably know someone well enough to know of any dietary restrictions or food preferences. Otherwise, consider the individual circumstances, and homemade is always a winner. And for the record, my favorite cookie is oatmeal.
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