Food is our love language and comfort food creates memories that warm the heart
My family loves food. All of us. I think we secretly mistrust anyone who does not. We love to eat it, shop for it, prepare it, discuss it, and plan for future meals while still in the middle of one. Food is even a gift of choice. As a teenager, I had the chance to visit Paris and returned home with a wheel of Camembert and a small tin of foie gras for my father, and he welcomed these gifts as if they were precious stones. Is it any wonder that when winter becomes bleak, I turn to the comfort food memories to keep me warm?
Winter blues be gone!
After the glow and warmth of the Holiday table, the following days can seem rather dark and gloomy. The winter in Canada is long and cold. While most dietitians and nutritionists frown on the concept of “food as comfort, ” I wholeheartedly embrace it. This might explain the few extra pounds that appear suddenly in mid-February.
When the weather is foreboding, I turn to my comfort food memories for instant warmth.
My food memories’ journal was started when, having depleted the batteries on both my kindle and iPod and faced with a few more hours to kill before boarding a plane back home, I started jotting down all of my favourite food memories.
My earliest comfort food was a breakfast dish cooked by my maternal grandmother, my beloved, saintly Teta Teeta (‘teta’ is the informal word for grandmother in Arabic).
She would fry vermicelli in butter until they lightly browned, and then she would place them in a shallow bowl to which she would add warm milk and sugar. She poured just enough milk to submerge the noodles, but not so much as to make them soupy. The smell of the sugar and the milk and the chewiness of the noodles were a perfect mix. Equally comforting was listening to one of her stories while I ate my breakfast.
This dish was not an everyday staple but a happy indulgence and not dictated by a set schedule. I never figured out when Teta decided it was a day for vermicelli and milk, but it set the mood for the rest of the day. Maybe this was her clever and delicious way of ensuring I was getting my calcium fix, as I was never a milk drinker!
I always wondered if other Egyptian grandmothers made this dish, but as far as I can tell, this seems to have been a family tradition. I could be wrong, of course.
I would love to hear about one of your food memories. Leave me a comment, and don’t forget the recipe 🙂
Other articles you might enjoy: Breakfast Memories
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Phoebe K Farag
I remember a specific Sunday in my childhood when my mom took us walking to a New York bakery after church and bought us chocolate eclairs. I still remember how good those eclairs were and still love eating them!
love this memory!! Almost like Proust’s Madeleines!!
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