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Friday, March 11, 2011


Comfort food

Pot roast, chicken and dumplings, homemade vegetable soup... I love comfort food. There’s nothing better than a pot of chili simmering in the stove on a cold, wet day. When I know I’m going to be stuck inside, I like to bake Toll House cookies so I know I’ll be properly supplied for the duration. If I’m feeling under the weather I need Campbell’s Chicken Noodle soup and a peanut butter sandwich.

Sloppy Joes always make me think of Saturday morning high school Speech Team tournaments. The tangy scent of sweetened barbeque sauce wafting through cinder block hallways always made my mouth water. Pangs of hunger would duke it out with the butterflies in my stomach. Hunger usually won. I knew if I could just get through my recitation, there would be a scoopful of sloppy goodness on an enriched white bread bun waiting for me.

I am an insanely picky eater. I also have a number of food rituals that must be observed. I don’t care if my food is all going to the same place, I still don’t want it co-mingling on my plate. Like Jack Spratt, I eat no fat. My dogs love it when we grill steaks because I must carefully carve around any part that looks suspiciously marbled. Potato chips? I eat the broken chips first, then the whole chips, leaving the best - the coveted folded chips - for last.

I'm a Catholic school survivor, so in my mind, tuna casserole should only be served on Fridays and should always come with a side of Kraft Macaroni ‘n Cheese. Cheese pizza is welcome anytime.

In my book, Paramour, Camellia Stafford’s neighbor, Mrs. Kelly, expresses her condolences in a most time honored way. She presents the bereaved with a Corning Ware dish filled with tuna-noodle casserole. Later, Cam invites sexy ad man, Brad, to her apartment and seduces him with meatloaf and mashed potatoes. What man could resist?

We’re all susceptible to the lure of comfort food. My personal favorite? Toast - the perfect food for all occasions. When I’m anxious, I take it plain and dry. Feeling cozy? I slather that toasty goodness in real butter. You know I’m celebrating when I break out the cinnamon and sugar.

How about you? What’s your go-to food when you need a little solace?

Margaret Ethridge lives in Arkansas with a sweet-talking Southern gentleman who claims to be her lawfully-wedded husband. She is the (not-so-wicked-but-she-has-her-moments) step-mother to their two children, the adoring mistress of three spoiled dogs, the food purveyor to eleven hungry goldfish, and the comic foil for one rather impertinent house rabbit who thinks he rules the roost.

When she isn’t tapping away at her keyboard, Margaret engages in an epic battle against her never-ending laundry hampers, cajoles the flowers in her yard, sings into her hairbrush, and has been known to hold entire conversations speaking only in movie quotes.


Marialina said...

Hi Margaret! Congratulations on your newest ventures!

Marialina said...

I'm sorry I can't stay to ask questions, but I love your work and am so excited to read Contentment when it comes out.

Iwanna said...

Hi! I love homemade lasagna. (never in a restaurant) I love Pillsbury crescent rolls.
I too love toast and I now seem to love English Muffins toasted. Adding the peanut butter is such a treat.
There is a pizza place in my town called Whitehouse pizza that is a major treat. Only my hubby and I like it so usually it is reserved for anniversaries or birthdays.
I also love a homemade banana loaf. I don't bake but I do make an awesome banana loaf.

Bobbye Terry said...

Lasagna, yum! Chili is another one for me; anything spicy wins. BTW, Margaret, LOVED your book. I think you have a real winner and I blogged about it at The Mojito Literary Society when it first came out.


Christina Wolfer said...

What a fun post, Margaret. I'm a Catholic survivor myself, but my go to food during Lent is a grilled cheese sandwich - can't stand anything fishy.

Chili is always a good choice. Like Bobbye anything spice usually works for me. I could eat chips and salsa everyday.

Tracy March said...

Love this post, Margaret. It made me hungry!

I am just like you with the chips. Gotta eat them in exactly that order...and the folded ones are THE BEST!

And yes, my husband considers a meat loaf and mashed potato dinner an aphrodisiac! Me, not so much. Now pizza or pasta? I'm swooning!

It's interesting how food in books can convey certain traditions and emotions. I like the way you incorporated that into PARAMOUR.

Have a great weekend!

Tracy March

Margaret said...

Thanks for your comments and the compliments! Maybe this wasn't such a great idea for a post. My mouth is watering just reading your comments!

Marialina - Thanks for stopping by! I can't wait for Contentment either!

Iwanna - I'm very picky about lasagna too. There are a couple of restaurants where I will order it, but that's it.

Bobbye - What's life without a little spice? Thanks so much. You are a doll!

Christina - I'm with you on the fish. I think I ate my last tuna casserole about twenty years ago, and I've never looked back.

Tracy - What is it with men and meatloaf? I swear, my brothers can scent my mother's meatloaf from miles away!

Julie said...

Julie's Favourite Comfort Foods (in no particular order, except for the peanut butter): peanut butter, chips (particularly the delicious folded ones you mentioned), Kraft Dinner (white cheddar all the way), tuna bunnies, mashed potatoes, barbecued pork chops and apple sauce (I don't like the fatty parts of the meat, either, but sometimes I chew on them a bit and spit 'em out, just to get the fat essence, ya know?), my mom's chili, cauliflower and cheese sauce, nachos with melted cheese and coconut on top, soup in a freaking bread bowl, pad thai, um ... eggplant? I find purple food very comforting. And that's all for now. :D

Margaret said...

I love the fact that you find cauliflower comforting. I'm almost afraid to ask, but...tuna BUNNIES?

Julie said...

It's all about the alliteration for me. ;) Don't worry. No ACTUAL bunnies are harmed in the making of tuna bunnies, but actual bunnies might enjoy them. It's tuna on a bun with cheese melted over top. :P

Renee Vincent said...

My comfort food is Graeters black raspberry chocolate chip ice cream! I cannot get enough of it...and I could eat a whole pint in one sitting if I'm not careful.

suzanne said...

Margaret: didn't know you were blogging here or would've come by sooner.
My comfort food? Pot roast hands down. Favorite recipe for it is one from the Crockery Cookbook called German Short Ribs--has brown sugar, vinegar, red wine, catsup and chili powder in it. Yummy!