Comfort Food

Bapopik at AOL.COM Bapopik at AOL.COM
Tue Jun 6 01:40:22 UTC 2000



_comfort food._  Any food that a person considers to put him at ease, often as part of nostalgia for a favored childhood food.  Often it is of a soft consistency, like mashed potatoes.  In her book _Comfort Food_ (1986), Sue Kreitzman wrote of her subject...

   It wasn't exclusively "her" subject.
   I have "comfort pie" from at least the 1960s.  It may or may not have influenced the term.
   BON APPETIT, May 1978, cover: "Exclusive M.F.K. FISHER ON COMFORT FOODS."  The contents page has:

By M.F.K. Fisher--Foods that comfort!  Some well-chosen words from the doyenne of American food writers.

   The story on pg. 73, col. 1 begins:

   A cold potato at midnight...," and at about the turn of our century, a Midwestern writer put this haunting phrase in one of her forgotten essays, although I can find no reference to it.  I remember it clearly from when I first heard it in about 1940.  She was lonely.  She felt comforted, or perhaps merely revived, when she could sneak down to the silent family kitchen and pull out a boiled potato from a bowl of them in the icebox.  As I see it now, she ate it standing up in the shadows, without salt, but voluptuously, like a cat taking one mouseling from a nest and leaving the rest to fatten for another night.
   In general, there is a clear difference between revivers and comforters, of course aside from their equal importance in our survival.
   Most of us have a few private revivers, which we administer knowingly to ourselves, usually in the company of one or more companions.  Comforters we eat or drink alone.  Revivers demand a certain amount of public ceremony and can be cold or hot, no matter how plain, but comforters are a private ritual and almost always warm.

   Maybe I'll take out a nice big apple and cry some more for another ten years.

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