Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Wierd Comfort Food

Would that be a great title for a cookbook, or what? Heck, they published The White Trash Cookbook, didn't they? I don't own it, incidentally. I figured that I could just go out if I wanted that type of food. However I did purchase The WASP Cookbook (what can I say?) And then there's my absolute favorite cookbook: You've Had Worse Things in your Mouth, by Billi Gordon. Billi's cookbook is hilarious, although hard to find now. She divides food categories uniquely: Seduction, Destitution, Motivation, and Revenge. Her peanut butter and wasabe sandwich, for example, is custom-designed for the picnic where you haul your best girlfriend's panties (found under the bed) out and confront your boyfriend. You know? And her recipe for chocolate pudding containing chocolate laxative is a really great way of broadening your culinary view of things. Looking for the perfect graduation gift? Want your daughter to dump her scummy live-in? Give her the culinary tools for success. But I digress. I actually began this today wanting to write about wierd comfort food. The strange concoctions that we, as adults, tend to eat alone in our kitchen, hunched over the bowl or plate while reading shallow magazines or genre fiction. So... what's yours? Does wierd comfort food have rules? Sure! It has to be something that you eat at home. Entire chain restaurant menus (e.g. Ye Olde Pancake House) don't count. It has to be a specific food combination that you or someone in your family uses for nutrition and comfort. My husband, for example, puts cottage cheese on pasta. Oops, excuse me. He just corrected me. He puts cottage cheese on egg noodles because apparently they taste "totally different." I find that odd. If we have no cottage cheese, he will take plain penne pasta and put catsup on it. Now I find that cringingly bizarre. When I was growing up, my mother would often make me comfort food of some type or another. One favorite was soft-boiled eggs, chopped up small with some butter on top and homemade bread made into toast. Pretty dull, huh? I remember eating and thinking I was just like Christopher Robin. Stuff like this is why I'm such a freaking Pollyanna today. I suppose that macaroni and cheese might have been another family comfort food, although I don't remember it as such. And it was real macaroni and cheese. First you overcook the pasta (remember the WASP reference up top?) Then you make a homemade white sauce and put dried mustard powder, some white pepper, a dash of worcestershire sauce, and a lot of grated cheddar cheese into it. Stir it up into the pasta and bake! Put bread crumbs on top. More butter. Lots of butter. When my mother was getting her teaching credential, she sent us over to some real, honest-to-goodness white trash types for babysitting. It was amazing. I was twelve and I read probably 200 True Detective magazines (and all of their Reader's Digest Condensed Books) while there. Every time we were there, they would feed us this extremely strange food. It was ... macaroni and cheese from a box! The Kraft stuff. And, the real shocker - no vegetables! This family was amazing. They were like the poster children for healthy home cooking. They all weighed about 300 lbs, the mom wore a flowered housedress, and the dad routinely took little Bubba out back for a good whipping. Yikes. I haven't read a True Detective magazine (or purchased or eaten Kraft macaroni and cheese) since. And what's with that stuff, anyway? It takes just as long to make the real stuff as it does the wierd glow-in-the-dark orange stuff! But I suspect that it's the siren lure of comfort food. The real "wierd comfort food," though, and the stuff I'm most interested in, is the sometimes odd combinations that you developed as a child and still (somewhat furtively) try today. When you're a kid, you're just developing taste buds and a sense of, um, personal style. The results can be entertaining. Yesterday, I made a can of Campbells tomato soup. I put it on the table, and then got out the saltine crackers. Methodically, I crumpled about 10 of them onto the top of the soup. Then, I ate it. My son looked at me somewhat oddly and I tried to get him to taste it. He did, and then looked at me more oddly. "No thanks mom" he said, emphatically. Ah, well, he'll figure out his own comfort food. I also enjoyed homemade dill pickles dipped in milk for a few years. Might I add, though, that I was raised in a health food-conscious home in the middle of the country, and we had limited options? Like tea with honey in it if we wanted sweets? Frankly, I look forward to hearing what all of you suburban ex-kids used to eat as comfort food. I'll bet you can come up with some toe-curling oddities. Come on, I dare you. Share! BTW, as penance for the (shark noise please) Amazon link inclusions, here's a good booklover's link, just to even things out a bit.


Blogger Blue said...

bangers & mash with brown onion gravy

Chicken chips on a buttered sesame seed knot roll

Iced VoVo's (a type of biscuit - or is that cookie in the US - I'm confused)

Chocolate milk with marshmallows

Saturday, June 03, 2006 7:23:00 PM  

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