It’s a strange blend of things that can make a food comforting to a person. Sometimes we don’t even really understand why; it just is. This occurred to me this afternoon, as I was sitting on the couch bemoaning yet another attack of fall illness (it didn’t seem to get the hint from the snow outside), curled up with an egg sandwich and a mug of mint tea with milk and agave nectar. I’d chosen my lunch this way because they’re immensely comforting to me, and then I had to wonder why. They seem strange ideas of comfort foods.
And then I thought back to every memory I could associate with egg sandwiches or fried eggs, and the pattern of times when I have felt loved and cared for emerged, despite any other feelings which later became associated with any of the memories. It’s an emotional comfort, and eggs and toast generally being decent choices of foods, a feeling of nourishment on several levels. It’s the mom’s-mac-n’-cheese type of comfort.
But the tea is different- I wasn’t raised with tea, nor are there all that many stand-out memories associated with it. My best guess was, at first, the purely physical comfort from wrapping your hands around a warm mug and the mint’s calming effects on the digestion. But that’s not it. (And why I take my mint tea with milk in the cold months is completely oddball; the flavors just don’t exactly sound like they blend well at all, that’s just how I drink it.) It’s a deeper comfort than warm hands and a happy tummy, but I haven’t got the slightest clue where it hails from.
It really gets me wondering what sorts of foods our children will find comforting, or if they even will, given the developing attitude of society that finding any emotional tie to your food is bad for you and will make you weigh 1,000 pounds. They’re bound to have different opinions on them- and probably even different ones than Ryan or I. They might not even like egg sandwiches or tea, or even the potatoes their Irish ancestry calls them to adore.