Comfort Food

Fair warning: this isn’t a recipe post. This is a post about comfort food and what it means to me, and maybe to you, too.

Not that I don’t have some great recipes to share, but most of my favorite dishes are made using different things each time, depending on what I have available, and by eyeballing ingredient amounts. I am one of those rebel cooks who just wings it most of the time and it usually turns out pretty well for me.

It helps that I can only eat a handful of foods thanks to my wonky mast cells, though. When your choices are limited you learn to get creative in the kitchen, believe me!

But back to the topic of comfort foods. I was thinking about that term all evening as I was making last night’s chicken noodles. It’s my own take on the noodles my mom made for us growing up. She learned it from her mom who probably learned it from hers and so on.

It’s a really simple recipe, really. It’s basically just chicken soup with flour and egg noodles. I like to use a combination of chicken and quail eggs, and as you can see, the ones we raise ourselves have the most beautiful yellow yolks.

A few handfuls of flower, some salt, pepper and garlic stirred in and kneaded into a ball, then rolled and cut…

Add them to your soup after bringing it back up to a boil and then turn it back down to a high simmer for an hour or so and voila!

Chicken noodles. Yummmm!

I love making them, even though they are a fair bit of work. The end result is so worth it and the warm smell of chicken soup simmering on the stove is as effective as any anti-anxiety or antidepressant pill on the market, in my humble opinion.

There is just something so very soothing about comfort foods like this, which is, obviously, how they got their name.

Back when I ran my in home daycare, before I got too sick and had to shut it down, I used to bake chocolate chip cookies right before I’d interview with a new family and 9 out of 10 times they immediately wanted to place their kids in my care.

It was an old trick I’d learned from seasoned day care ladies I knew, and it worked like a charm. Not that I needed to trick them, of course, because I did run a high quality program, but every little thing helps. Parents, especially new parents, want to feel comfortable leaving their most precious possessions with someone so the smell of fresh baked cookies worked to put them immediately at ease.

When I know the hubs has had a stressful work day I try to make something like chicken noodles or pot roast with homemade bread or at least bake his favorite cookies or pie so he walks in and is hit with the aromatherapy of comfort food. Combine that with a hot shower and a neck massage and, well, it’s a recipe for a successful marriage. We’re celebrating our 31st year together this November, so I’d humbly say it works well for us!

Every culture has its own comfort foods, of course, and mine are traditional Americana dishes because that’s what I am. A traditional American girl and proud of it (I know that idea offends some these days but oh well!). A lot of times comfort foods are the ones you had growing up and may be things you have a nostalgic association with that connects you with your loved ones.

In some cases, they can be an ancestral thread that ties families together and why recipe boxes are so coveted in some families! Even today, with digital recipes flooding the internet, there is something very comforting about an old, tattered recipe box that belonged to your grandma.

We as humans need to have something that soothes our soul and fills our bellies. It’s just part of the human experience, if you ask me!

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