During difficult times, it is customary to reach for something to offer that soothing sense of ease — comfort food. There is solace in eating heavy, familiar foods; the fatty-acids reduce intensive and negative feelings, replacing them with a sense of warmth and balance. Beyond the instant gratification that comes from eating is the memory associated with the food itself; certain foods, such as grilled cheese, invoke thoughts of home and family. The same goes for a favorite TV show or movie: The comfort stems from the familiarity of it all. “The Office” and pizza are an especially effective combination after a difficult time, the theme song alone guarantees to warrant a smile.
That isn’t to say you should always eat your feelings, however. Keep in mind that food is temporary and will not fix everything no matter how many slices you eat. So enjoy that pizza for one when you’re down, but also make sure that you are reaching out to the people around you for comfort too. Here are some recipes for those in-the-moment times where eating might feel better than talking:
Mama’s Barbeque Meatloaf
1 lb fresh ground beef
1 chopped onion
2 tbsp barbecue sauce
1 cup Italian bread crumbs
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
Preheat your oven to 450℉. Combine the ground beef and onion in a bowl. In the same bowl, add in the breadcrumbs until you have the consistency where you can form balls out of the meat. Then add in the eggs and Worcestershire sauce to combine all of the ingredients. Take a casserole dish and mold the meat mixture to it to be put in the oven for about 20 minutes. To be sure the meat is done, place a toothpick in it. If it comes out clean, then it is done. Happy eating!
Feel Good Fried Rice
8 dried shiitake mushrooms
2 large eggs
4 scallions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup minced carrot
1 large clove garlic, minced
Pinch of red pepper flakes
1 tsp minced peeled fresh ginger
2 tbsp soy sauce
3 cups cooked long-grain rice
1 cup cooked meat of choice , cut in 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 cup frozen peas, defrosted in a strainer at room temperature
This recipe is as quick and easy as it is comforting. Simply prepare your rice in a pot of boiling water for 45 minutes and mix in all of the other ingredients over a medium-high flame. Once the vegetables are tender and the eggs are cooked, you’ve got fried rice!
Chili Grilled Cheese
Sliced white bread
1 can of bean-less chili
While your skillet heats up, slather the sides of the bread with a thin layer of mayonnaise. Place one side of the bread on the skillet to turn it golden brown. Begin by layering a piece of cheese, two dollops of the chili, another slice of cheese and the final piece of bread. Flip the sandwich over when the bottom piece is a golden brown color — careful not to spill the insides. Continue to cook until the second piece of bread is also a golden hue. Serve with a side of sour cream and enjoy.
Bake and Grate Mac
1 box of instant macaroni and cheese
Butter (according to box directions)
Milk (according to box directions)
Italian bread crumbs
Shredded parmesan cheese
Red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper
Prepare the instant macaroni and cheese as per the directions on the box. Once it is cooked, take the warm macaroni and place it in a casserole dish. Coat the top with an even layer of breadcrumbs parmesan and seasoning to taste. Bake in the oven at 450°F until the top is crispy and golden.