Historically Speaking: Comfort foods have always been around
Many different kinds of “comfort” foods have been around for years. We give these foods the name of snacks, appetizers and maybe even “soul food.” When I was a youngster, there was frowning on eating between meals since three substantial and hearty meals were prepared and served during the day at regular hours. Today, with the hectic pace of family life and the simplicity of getting meals ready in just minutes, there is much more “munching” between meals and many of our families today do not sit down together for a meal – only on a very special occasion.
I recall the pleasant smell of freshly baked bread; the way the aroma lingered in the kitchen for hours after the bread was baked. Our special treat coming home from school was to find a slice of fresh bread, spread with butter (and maybe fresh made jam) waiting for us on the old wooden bread-board on the kitchen table. Donut making day was a special treat, as my special comfort food then would be the “holes” that seemed even better than the donut itself!
A dish that we had often, during the cold winter days, was a casserole of potatoes, carrots and hamburger. Sometimes Mother would coarsely grind the vegetables and at other times the potatoes and carrots were sliced and together with the ground beef and canned tomatoes made a delicious one-dish meal. I still make this casserole (in my crock pot) but I do not grind the potatoes and carrots.
A mince meat pie can satisfy a hungry appetite, especially if it is actually made with venison. This was a special treat usually reserved for the holidays. In the fall, mother canned many jars of mince meat and throughout the long winter they became the filling for many a mince meat pie.
We always had a lot of cottage cheese at meal time, since we had our own cows and plenty of milk and cream. A special comfort food for my brother and I was a ball or small patty of dried cottage cheese. My mother would season the cottage cheese, form it, and place it on a pan in the warming closet at the top of the wood range to dry. These were great to take with us while we were doing our chores – they were chewy and tasty and we grew attached to these cheese treats.
There was a very special fruit cake that my mother used to make at holiday time – we called it Yum Yum cake. It had no fruit except for raisins and was made in an angel food cake pan. We all loved it! I have made this identical simple cake for my family each Christmas.
My other liked to make fudge, and her fudge always turned out perfect! She made a butterscotch candy that was so very smooth and flavorful; as it set she cut it into squares and this filled the candy dish for a while. Butterscotch now comes in balls or fancy rounds, but it can never match the pleasure of one of Mother’s butterscotch squares!
Fruit of all kinds has always been a favorite of many folks; we had a bushel of apples each fall and that special apple in my lunch on school days was the perfect ending for a sandwich lunch.
Who does not love a hot bowl of homemade soup? There are so many kinds of soup nowadays. There is something so very soothing to the soul to bring back memories of times long ago when grandmother or mother believed that soup could cure anything and everything.
Now there are so many different kinds of food, appetizers and specialty foods. There is no end to the selection in the stores and many of the foods are already prepared and ready to pop into the microwave or oven. The nutrition is important in your snack or comfort food since it is sometimes perhaps a substitute for a meal or an addition to a meal. We are fortunate to have such a wide variety of foods in our stores and eating places. There is something that will please everybody!