HOW TO CREATE COMFORT FOOD DURING UNCOMFORTABLE TIMES
“Those who have not tasted the bitterest of life’s bitters cannot appreciate the sweetest of life’s sweets.
There is something to be said about financial struggle and grace at the table. Almost all soulful cuisines are born out of poverty or from lack of resources... Here in the United States, we have the Southern Creole soul food born out of the sufferings and strong survival instincts of slaves. The Jews have kosher food which is the diet of survival and spiritual nutrition for the Jewish soul.
Everyone has their own familial favorite. One common denominator for survival of spirit at the table is food that is nourishing and eaten ritualistically, along with harmony of flavors direct from the earth, which ground’s us. This is what we need to teach our children so that they have a sense of familiarity and security around eating that will provide them with certain calm during “hard times”
A universal example of a comfort food is a roasted chicken with gravy. This can be a great ritual for you and your family. Take the time to enjoy the process of roasting, the smells emitting from the kitchen and the sense of anticipation coming from the dining room for a perfectly roasted chicken straight from the oven, the texture of the crisp skin, and tender meat blanketed in a giblet gravy (made sustain ably from the parts of chicken that are generally tossed out) over basmati rice. This is the epitome of comfort food. After you finish the chicken, make a rich medicinal broth from the bones. This is cooking with reverence for the nourishing ingredients.
It is never too early to influence the choices that your children will make later in life especially when it comes to healthy food choices. City children today are lucky to have exposure to many different types of foods. In my work as a private chef, I have seen young children eating hummus, yogurt, pesto, poached eggs, mushrooms, broccoli, and seaweed chips. I firmly believe that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree with respect to eating habits. As parents we really need to take the responsibility of exposing our children to healthy food that become part of their daily menus. Shop mindfully and prepare consciously. It will be a gift that you give your children for life.
In order to FACE the present and future financial, food and health challenges we must teach our children how to incorporate ritual into their life at the table. This is not a religious issue. It is a matter of sanctifying our very existence on this earth and living a life of grace, instead of gluttony and greed.