We all remember being five years old and losing our ice cream cone on the dirty pavement because a gigantic dragonfly landed on in at the exact time you took a lick. Well…maybe not all of us remember it quite that way. What we all DO remember is the comfort you felt when your Mom came over, wiped you eyes, rubbed your back and got you a new ice cream. As humans, we need to be comforted from time to time. Stepping beyond the negative, sad and difficult moments in life, we LIKE to be comforted. A giant insect does not need to screw with your creamy treat to want some comforting. The fun thing about humans is that each of us are comforted in a unique way. For some, comfort is a massage. For others, it’s new shoes. Still, others prefer a silent moment and a ray of sun. For me, it’s good food. Not a surprise given the theme of this blog.
I am blessed to have great friends and family. Their ability to comfort me when I need, or want, it is astounding. I couldn’t ask for better but, I recently stumbled into more. My girlfriend, bless her Canadian heart, has been a bit sheepish in my kitchen. She claimed she couldn’t cook very well. She also insists she was slightly intimidated by my highly tuned kitchen skills (I am not that tuned. Really, I just know how to make it look good. WINK). I didn’t completely believe this but I gave her the benefit of the doubt. You know, new relationship and all. You have to go easy (double WINK). I knew she could eat, that was clear. And, I love that about her. Huge points if you can clean a plate down to the last drop of sauce.
About a month ago things changed. She started to act a bit different. She started making claims that she could make excellent comfort food. Specifically, English comfort food. Hearkening back to her days of eating bangers, mash and shepard’s pie she became inspired. I came home one night to find her double mitted and torso deep in my oven. As I entered the kitchen she extracted herself from the cook box with a giant casserole of piping hot shepard’s pie. The London comfort food revolution had begun.
It started with the Shep’s pie pictured above. A whole roasted chicken followed the day after. The next night she made an amazing soup with home made dumplings and left over chicken. Those dumplings could make a man forget all about the traumatic lose of an ice cream cone to a dragonfly 30 years ago.
The next week BOOM! Breaded porkchops (my kryptonite)
Week after, veal chops stuffed with cheese and proscuitto
After that? Prosciutto and veal stuffed pasta purses in a simple olive oil basil sauce.
What have we learned? Not only can she eat. My girl can cook! And she can cook GOOD! Very tasty. Very attractive. Very comforting. For the last month I’ve spent little time in the kitchen but have had delicious, home cooking. I was thrilled with her as an eater. Now, as a cooker, I am even more elated. So, yes, I don’t NEED to be comforted everyday but I do LIKE it.
But, there is a larger lesson in all this. If after 9 hours of staring at an LCD screen scattered with words and images I can put a warm bite of potato, cheese and ground beef in my mouth, you better believe it makes me feel better. When I think about my daily life it’s these bits of comfort that stick out. Just like cooking, comforting is truly an art. Go be creative and make someone feel good today.