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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Musings on Comfort Food

I had planned a blog about the wings I had made for a party on Saturday night. I had come up with what I hoped would be a butt-kicking, Thai-inspired recipe that contained fish sauce, rice vinegar, brown sugar, and lots of sriracha. The wings came out a little lackluster (too sweet) and I stayed at the party less than an hour because I was just too sick.

I have been laid low by the worst bug I've had in a long time. I've suffered from everything from a bad cough, to a headache, to a high fever, to an unrelenting leaky-faucet nose (I went through 3 boxes of tissues in 2 days) in this past week. Food means very little to me because I can't taste a thing.

I do find myself wanting to eat though. My appetite and hunger are both diminished. While they do rear their heads from time to time, my cravings are so different from what they might be when I'm healthy. I have wanted things like macaroni and cheese, grilled cheese sandwiches, spaghetti with garlic butter and parmesan, lo mein noodles (good thing Kevin and I ordered Chinese over the weekend), and warm challah bread with butter. I'm not craving anything super sweet and I'm not craving meats the way I normally do.

This got me thinking about the nature of comfort foods. I have always had trouble defining "comfort food" for myself. I always thought of roast chicken as a great comfort food because parts of it are pleasingly high in fat, and it appeals to my base instinct of ripping into flesh. I love tearing into a whole chicken. Since I have had this bug, chicken doesn't appeal to me. I want starch and I want creaminess and fat. Comfort food is as much about texture as it is about taste . I can't taste a thing these days, but I want my food to feel a certain way.

I started to think about what foods I eat for comfort when I'm healthy, but mentally distressed. It's times like those when I go for the sweet ice cream, the fried chicken, and the stuffed pork chops. When my nose isn't stuffed, I want more flavor and am likely to crave spicy Chinese food or Thai or a nice zesty Italian marinara sauce on my pasta.

I want to pay more attention to this sort of thing in the future. It's quite interesting to note the things I won't most depending on my state of physical and mental health.

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