Comfort Food

So, on top of having half of my electrical system basically implode yesterday, I am also sick. And as fun as it was traipsing in and out of the house in the rain switching off breakers, I planned to spend today skulking in bed reading a book, but then I remembered that I had to order groceries, which involves dragging my desk across the floor to an outlet that works. (The electrician is coming soon to fix the electrical system, by the way; it’s kind of dependent on his other jobs, but it will definitely happen within the next three days or so.)

The thing is, when I’m sick, I tend to not eat very much. Part of it is a genuine lack of hunger, but some of it is simply because I lose the will and energy to cook. Therefore, there is a sort of set menu of foods which I tend to gravitate towards when I am sick. I think everyone has this, the list of foods that they eat when sick both because they are comforting and because they are easy to make. I thought it might be sort of interesting to compare comfort foods with you, gentle readers, since I think they are so dependent on how you are raised and where you are raised; the foods which people gravitate to in times of stress are often very revealing.

The thing that tops my list, oddly enough, is baguettes. I mean, I like baguettes at other times, but for some reason I especially enjoy them when I am sick, perhaps because my father used to drop them off at the house on Franklin Street when he knew I wasn’t feeling better, and I would eat straight bread dipped in oil, vinegar, and lemon. I should eat baguettes more often, I think, because they are pretty darn awesome. Although I do realize that our weakly American baguettes are a pale imitation of the real thing. This week I splurged and got Brie to eat with my baguettes, despite the fact that I really shouldn’t be eating dairy because it makes my sinuses sad.

I also eat a lot of soup, which makes sense, because soup is easy. I happened to have some borscht frozen, so when the fridge was out for most of the day yesterday and it started thawing, I figured I might as well use it. Baguettes are also good for this because you can tear crusty chunks off and sop up the borscht broth with them. But any soup will do, because soup is made of awesome.

Spicy food is also a given for me, which is why I got the ingredients to make spicy Thai-style (sort of) soup, and I’m looking forward to hot pot with my father and my Chinese mother on Tuesday. Her hot pot is hot in both senses of the word. I also have some peanut sauce which was kindly thawed out for me yesterday by my faulty electrical system, so I sense peanut sauce in my future. Hot foods are enjoyable for me when I’m sick both because I like hot food and because they help clear out my sinuses. I also figure that since one of the main critiques of insanely spiced foods is that the spice overwhelms the flavor, and I can’t taste anything at this point, this is a good time to eat spicy food.

I am also a fan of tea with honey and lemon. Lots and lots of tea. Another family tradition is just hot water, lemon, and honey, which soothes the throat while also encouraging bacteria to find a new place to hang out; hence my decision to order 10 lemons from Harvest this week. My throat is all raspy and foul feeling right now, so that ought to help improve matters. Juice is commonly ingested in large amounts as well.

What do you eat when you’re sick/sad/frustrated? Does your family have a tradition of particular foods, or have you developed your own comfort foods?

4 Replies to “Comfort Food”

  1. Lately when I get sick it mostly involves the digestive system. I have found myself eating either toast or crackers with cheese. It’s easy to fix and easy on a sore tummy. I like home-made chicken noodle soup when I have a cold but I don’t usually feel well enough to make it. Lipton is a pretty good alternative. And of course lots of liquids.

  2. As a kid I got popsicles. My older daughter’s favorite, if she can eat anything, is white rice with lemon juice, salt, pepper, and a bit of olive oil. As an adult, I don’t like to eat at all when I’m sick, but I will always eat egg lemon soup. An omelette as my first food after beginning to feel better. Water tastes lousy, so I drink pineapple juice, one of my favorite things, which I only let myself have when I’m sick because it’s so sugary. This backfired on me once because I suffered from, ahem, reverse peristalsis with a stomach full of pineaple juice and in spite of my love for it I could not look at it for about ten years. But I gradually got over the gross and it’s back in favor again as one of my main comfort foods. Hope you feel better soon. Glad your house didn’t burn down.

  3. When I’m sick? Soup and tea, usually.

    When I’m sad or frustrated? Anything made with chocolate. (Oh, wait, I do that even when I’m not sad or frustrated. Actually, now that I think about it, I do that all the time, except when I am sick.)

Comments are closed.