The Comfort of Food: It’s in our Nature

Comfort food keeps us alive in more ways than one.

Dinner 5/25/15

Although it was a hot day, I craved rice and beans, cooked in the traditional style* on the stove in heavy Guardian Service pots. It’s remarkable that in so many modern cultures, it’s the inexpensive food that makes us happiest. Our ancestors ate this to survive. We can eat anything we want and often choose the foods that define our pasts. Or childhoods. Celebrations. Or ordinary family meals. Our nature.

I read once that children develop a taste for what their mothers ate while they were gestating. The food flavors the amniotic fluid so the baby is born accustomed to the piquantness of the future meals. Makes sense to me.

But there is also the mental association with those foods. I avoid carbonated beverages now and rarely drank beer. But I sure miss it at barbecues. My mind associates beer and burgers, beer with socializing over a smoking grill. Here in the United States we connect roast turkey with Thanksgiving, although you can throw a turkey in the oven any time. That would also have been sustenance food; it’s what the settlers ate and why it celebrates the bountiful harvest.

But back to what I lovingly call peasant food: the rices and pastas that filled generations of bellies. Dumplings and empanadas are basically meat wrapped in starchy discs. They stretch the more expensive ingredient to feed more people.

The rice and beans assuaged the sadness that my long weekend is over. It smelled like grandma’s kitchen and tasted like a party. Bring it on, world.

*You purists out there will see lots of green in the beans. I add extra peppers and olives, yumm.

 

 

 

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