Friday, September 24, 2010

Fun Friday V: Food for Thought


Happy Friday, dear readers! TGIF, indeed.

Today I'm posting what could be my last Fun Friday writing exercise. Do you like these things? Do you find them enjoyable or helpful? If they're not doing it for you, let me know. I'm trying to decide whether or not to keep them.

Here's this week's exercise:

What's your favorite comfort food? What's the one food you always reach for after a bad day? Tell me the story behind it. When did it start being your comfort food, and why? Here's mine:

Since I was a little girl, my comfort food has been cheese and crackers. Whenever I was sick or couldn't sleep, my mom would spread Imperial cheese on stoned wheat thins, somehow managing never to break the cracker with the cold, hard spread. (Still haven't figured out how she did that.)

When I asked a boy out  in Grade 7, only to be told that his mother "didn't let him date girls", I comforted myself with plate after plate of melted cheddar on Ritz. I realized later that this was probably not a healthy response, but it felt good at the time!

I love cheese of all kinds. I've discovered fresh Parmesan, which I eat by hand in crumbling chunks, and will never go back to that dry stuff in the can (although that cheese product has its own merit). Feta is heavenly when it melts over basil-roasted vegetables, and can be counted on to spark up any salad, even one made with fruit. It's great with strawberries and watermelon. Steak is made even better with the addition of blue cheese. Of all the cheeses, it took me the longest to fall in love with brie, but now that I have, it's one of my favorites. A lovely wedge of brie, served at the melting point with a crisp sliced apple, is to die for. But my absolute favorite cheese of all time is still cheddar...in particular Applewood cheddar, when I can get it.

The most decadent cheese treat I've experienced is available at a wonderful Greek restaurant in Winnipeg. Kristina's has an appetizer called saganaki, which is a plate of rich, melted cheese with bread for dipping. It's different from a fondue because there's nothing added to the cheese...it's just plain cheese, and it's delicious.

I can live without chocolate. I could probably give up potato chips for good, although it would be painful. But take away my cheese, and we'll have a problem.

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Okay, your turn! What's your comfort food, and why?

11 comments:

  1. For me, it's garlic sausage.

    When I was a kid Dad was out of town a lot. He works in the oilfield, and was gone due to the nature of the industry. When he came home, he would buy a chunk of garlic coil and bring it home with him. He'd cut it into slices and then ask us, "do you want some candy?"

    To which, his three elementary school and preschool children would reply, "Yay! Candy!" and he would hand us each a slice of sausage.

    At the time we didn't like that. We would argue, "That's not candy!"

    "Sure it is!" he'd reply. And then he'd make a big show of eating it with lots of big bites and "Yumm! UMMM Ummmm umm! Candy!"

    After a while we kids would give in and start eating the sausage, still weakly protesting that it wasn't really candy, but enjoying it as a special treat just because Dad made it look so good.

    So now, if I'm in the grocery store when I'm in a bad mood, if I happen to see a chunk of Garlic Coil on sale, I can't resist buying it. I bring it home, slice off a chunk, take a bite, and think "Yumm! UMMM Ummmm umm! Candy!"

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  2. P.S. I look forward to fun fridays. I really missed it last week when you didn't have one.

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  3. Thanks, kungfusinger - both for the story and the feedback. I never would have thought of garlic sausage as comfort food. Isn't it interesting the way our parents influence us?

    Do you plan to share your "candy" with Morgan when he's old enough?

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  4. Me too!! Cheese!!! Absolutely cheese!

    I don't have a specific fave but two staples include cheddar cheese quesadilla and melted mozzarella on a slice of bread layered with yum-yum pickles (preferably those my mother lovingly preserved)...But I can't remember the origin as to why I turn to cheese...but it seems that everything tastes better with cheese on it... I even have a recipe for steak with gorgonzola sauce...Mmmmmmm

    (I am lucky I am so active or else I'd likely end up looking like a cheese puff!)

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  5. Wow, those sound very yummy, Lisa! Willing to share your steak recipe? I'm a nut for anything that pairs blue cheese with beef. :) Thanks for commenting and participating. How did your workout(s) go yesterday?

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  6. I'll find the recipe for you Holli - it's at home in an old spiral notebook crammed with recipes that I've tried and loved (I think that book will be one of those things that my children will fight about when I'm gone).

    As for yesterday: 45 minutes walking, 30 minutes paddling (getting ready for Swamp Donkey Adventure Race tomorrow out at Falcon Lake - that will be 8 hours of activity I can log!!)

    ps. I like the "Fun Fridays"..you get me thinking...

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  7. Thanks, Lisa. I bet I'll love it!

    As for your workout, sounds great. The Swamp Donkey Adventure sounds like a lot of fun!

    And good to hear you like Fun Fridays. The participation is never what I hope, but maybe I just have to be patient.

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  8. For me comfort food often comes in the form of ice cream. There is something wonderful about smooth, creamy-cold and sweet on a spoon! I am not an ice cream snob (although I am a beer snob, but that’s another story) and like all kinds of icy deliciousness: fruity, chocolate-y, nutty, tart or buttery, smooth or chunky, marshmallow or candy mixed, just about any and all kinds of frozen goodness make my grade. One of my favs is Blue Bell Banana Pudding Ice Cream, which is made in Texas and used to only be available there. Thank God that they have branched out and it is now available elsewhere and via shipping! It was a seasonal favorite only offered once a year when I was growing up and we all looked forward to when it hit the shelves. I also have very vivid memories of going to TCBY yogurt and getting parfaits: tall clear plastic glasses with three layers of ice cream (ok yogurt) and two layers of mix ins and toppings. My treat was always the same: dark chocolate with blackberries topped with hot fudge….mmmm….. I think I might be having a virtual sugar overload just writing about it.

    I have no pain or sad story to tell about how ice cream has comforted me through break-ups or loss or depression- it hasn’t. I just like it. Period. The other thing I can probably offer as to why ice cream tops my list of comfort foods is because when I was in school the two people I was crushed on both had jobs at ice cream shops, one at Baskin Robbins 31 Flavors and the other at Farrell's. Watching them lean over and reach down into the coolers to scoop out heaps of deliciously tasty treats was a real turn on! No football player's tight glutes could ever top that 31 Flavors Forearm and bicep bulge in my book!

    I do have certain cravings at certain times. I like a good rare steak once every month or two, and crave salty chips pretty often actually. But truly the food that makes me feel better when I am down is often carb-laden, and filled with all kinds of bad for your body but good for your soul kinda ingredients. That kind of comfort food for me has often taken the form of mashed potatoes or rice and gravy, or some kind of pasta with some kind of sauce. Being from Texas my comfort food used to be mashed potatoes or rice and brown gravy. Now that I have lived in Michigan for many years my comfort food has evolved into …mashed potatoes or rice and that weirdly amazing & delicious yellow chicken gravy we find all over the Great Lakes. I have no idea what is in that stuff really, but I now make it myself at home with good broth, flour and "chicken seasoning" from Zehnders in Frankenmuth MI, and Cavender's Greek Seasoning (which I never leave home without and have put on almost everything for years.) Those are the only two "already mixed" spices I really use for anything, except for Old Bay.

    I don’t get nearly the same kind or quality of seafood here as back home in the Gulf Coast, and I really miss fresh shrimp, fresh crawfish, crab, and hearty steaklike ocean-going fish. I am no fan of smelt or perch or other little boney swimmy fellas we find around here (sorry Michiganders, that’s just how it goes for me.)

    I was never a sushi fan until I came here and tried some non-raw sushi rolls and fell in love, and now I have branched out into just about any kind of sushi that can be made. My favorite is tuna and mango, or a masago covered salmon, avocado and cucumber roll. I also like a nice spicy salmon rolled inside out and sprinkled with roasted sesame seeds and …oh my… I must go… be back after quick trip to sushi joint around the corner… mmmm sushi....

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  9. I already do share it with Morgan. He doesn't believe me that it is candy, though.

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  10. Steak, because it feels good to masticate.

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  11. @ Diane - wow, you said a mouthful - literally! That post is enough to make anyone hungry. Thanks for sharing. It all sounds delicious.

    @ kungfusinger - can't say I blame him! :)

    @ Travis - welcome to the blog! I love steak, too. Especially when BBQ'd with my special marinade.

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