October 13, 2007

When the comfort food is that comfortable....

... you've got to blog about it.

21 comments:

hdhouse said...

its 36 degrees and clear as a bell in the hamptons and i made homemade biscuits and gravy and am in hog heaven. comfort!

Mark Daniels said...

Okay, I know that I'm from the Midwest and unsophisticated. But, even though I really love pasta, it's not my idea of "comfort food."

Vegetable soup on its first reheating is my ideal comfort food when the temperatures start to dip. (My wife makes the best in the world. I even bragged on her vegetable soup in a recent sermon. Just for the record, I make the worst in the world!)

Meatloaf is another great comfort food, although I'm amazed by the fact that far fewer cooks seem able to make meatloaf than think they can. Even restaurants can't seem to get this right. Recently, one of my favorite chains featuring comfort foods, Bob Evans, messed up their meat loaf by adding sausage. Yuck!

Then there's the even simpler comfort fare of tomato soup with ham sandwiches. My family used to eat this comfort meal when I was a kid. On Sunday nights, after we'd returned from a family jaunt to my paternal grandparents' restaurant and home in Bellefontaine, it was the perfect comfort capper to the weekend.

We'd run by a place in Columbus called Isaly's, known for its dairy products, especially its ice creams. But they also had a deli. My folks would buy two pounds of chipped ham and a gallon of Isaly's chocolate milk. We went home, heated up some tomato soup, make our sandwiches, and....AHHHH! Pure comfort!

To this day, my wife and I love to comfort ourselves with ham sandwiches and tomato soup. (No chocolate milk though. I've learned I'm allergic to milk.)

Another comfort food we love in the autumn and winter is what in Columbus we called, Johnny Marzetti, named for the restaurant and salad-dressing maker there. In northwest Ohio, where we lived for six years, they called it Goulash, although it was made slightly differently. Noodles, tomatoes, ground beef, green peppers, onions, celery, and garlic. It is to die for!

I mentioned my Grandmother Daniels earlier. She was a fantastic "comfort" cook, the reason that people came to what was referred to as my grandfather's restaurants. Whenever we went for a visit, she fixed beef and noodles for my father--it was great--and pumpkin pie for me.

Ah, gastronomic memories! With such a love of food, how do I keep my svelte figure?

Mark Daniels
Better Living: Thoughts from Mark Danels

rhhardin said...

We always go for Encoigunre Loaf, Mom's favorite.

hdhouse said...

On sunday nights growing up, my mom made campbells tomato soup and put fine egg noddles in them. I don't think we ever had anything else. My dad, who was on the road a lot never seemed to miss sunday nights and I can even remember the oblong plastic bowls. i hope i never outlive that comfort feeling. is food protection from the world?

matthew said...

I'll give Nina the comfort of the doubt considering she's not from America. But in America, anything with actual shells in it is NOT comfort food.

Now, shells and cheese...

matthew said...

We always go for Encoigunre Loaf ...

rhhardin, Maybe I'm missing something, but ground up furniture doesn't sound very comforting to me...

rhhardin said...

Hey, if it's warm, it's good. That's the way mom did it.

They sold bread made of wood pulp back in the 70s. Horizon or something. It had some diet appeal or other. Put peanut butter on it and it's okay.

Trooper York said...

Potato and eggs fried in olive oil with melted mozzarella and a sprinkling of reggiano on fresh crispy Italian bread, salt and pepper. Fresh brewed black coffee with a thimble full of anisette. Ahhhh!

Windbag said...

Tomato soup with grilled cheese sandwich. Tomato soup with tuna fish sandwich. Either one is a great combination. Simple to prepare. You can fix the sandwich while the soup warms up. Grab a glass of milk, and you're set.

Ann Althouse said...

No one is commenting on the fact that Nina went out to dinner with a guy who slept during the meal and she took a picture of it and put it on her blog. That's what interested me!

Mark Daniels said...

Sorry, Ann, that wasn't what interested me. Comfort food was what interested me. Particularly interesting to me is the comfort food I like. As Bette Midler said in 'Beaches': "Enough about me. What do you think of me?"

Mark
Better Living: Thoughts from Mark Danels

dick said...

Home made corn bread baked in a cast iron skillet. We used to cut off the crust and have that with fresh churned butter from the farms and cheddar cheese from the Amish country. Chop up the cornbread and have that with fresh milk from the farms also. Potato cakes made from left over cold mashed potatoes. For dessert my mother used to broil grapefruit with a sprinkle of sugar on it. Baked apples with raisins and walnuts in them. Corn chowder with fresh baked bread.

That was the comfort food in central Ohio where I grew up.

Mark Daniels said...

But as to Nina's dinner companion: In my whole life I have never been out to dinner with anyone who has fallen asleep. What's up with that? Is the guy on medication? I hope he wasn't the driver!

Now, that I commented on that, I think I still prefer hearing about other people's favorite comfort foods...and writing about my own favorite comfort foods.

Mark
Better Living: Thoughts from Mark Danels

Mark Daniels said...

Dick:
I grew up not far from you.

I love corn bread fixed in an iron skillet! We always ate corn bread with soup beans. Yummy, in spite of the aftereffects.

I still like to go to the Amish restaurants in Plain City, near Columbus. We were just at one a few months ago. The entire menu is comfort food!

Mark
Better Living: Thoughts from Mark Danels

dick said...

Mark Daniels,

I went to grade school in Wooster right next to Holmes County where the major Ohio Amish settlement is. We would go for a Sunday drive through Holmes County and stop at the farmer's markets to get fresh made cheese and tomatoes and corn and butter and home cured ham right from the farm stands. Home and dinner from what we bought. Wonderful ending to a great day with the family. What made life worth living.

Mark Daniels said...

Dick:
Those Amish markets have some wonderful produce, preserves, and baked goods.

Mark
Better Living: Thoughts from Mark Danels

Trooper York said...

My brother’s wife is a journalist who is always nice to the tofu but acts like a bitch to my sausage and peppers hero. I finally confronted her and she told me she learned it in journalism school. Always comfort the afflicted food and afflict the comfort food. So I threw an apple pie at her and now they both don't talk to me. Best five bucks I ever spent

Finn Kristiansen said...

Comfort food for me was the bologna and American cheese sandwiches my mom served when I came home for lunch in 1st and 2nd grade.

Also, english muffin pizzas. My mom would take Thomas' muffins, and layer Campbells tomato soup, cooked Parks sausage, and cheese.

But when I really want something warm, and tasty, and something that relaxes me, it's Jamaican beef patties. Easy to hold, smooth texture, piping hot and spicy.

Yum.

dick said...

Don't know if the Amish still do it in Wooster but when I was a kid the farmers would come into the neighborhoods with their horses and wagons and sell fresh picked veggies to the neighborhood. They would park on the street and sit there and the women would come out to the wagons and buy the produce. He would have fresh baked stuff and corn right from the fields and preserves that his wife had put up. They would come by about once or twice a week and all the kids would gather around the horse and talk to the guy.

That was back in the late 1940's and early 1950's so I don't know if they still do this or not. I would assume there would be licensing and other roadblocks now but I still remember that so well. Whole different way of life these days and I don't know whether they would be able to do this. It is still great to go out to the Amish markets these days. Every time I go back I make a point to make 2 stops - the Amish markets and Smuckers in Orrville, Ohio - to stock up.

hdhouse said...

Dick

That is one wonderful scene you painted and one great set of comfort foods. Good memories can't be purchased.

Hector Owen said...

Trooper York, that's hilarious.

The food in the first photo looks comforting enough, but the napkin makes me uncomfortable. Shouldn't it be next to the bowl of pasta, rather than in it? Is pasta-in-napkin-in-bowl a Madison thing?