Monday, September 28, 2009

Comfort Foods

My husband has a cold (poor baby) and, wonderful wife that I am (don't you love how modest I am?), I went to the store to pick up all his favorite "sick" foods.  Which meant I stocked up on Cup-o-Noodles, Campbell's Chicken Noodle soup, apple juice, and crackers. And for dinner he wanted an egg salad sandwich. Isn't it funny what things we crave when we're sick?

I know for me, I crave tuna fish sandwiches (cut into triangles) and Cheetos, because that's what my mom always used to make for me when I had a cold. And if I have the flu I want Pepsi and Saltines to settle my stomach.

And yet I've also found the opposite can happen. I can't eat cherry or lemon lifesavers because they taste too much like cough drops. And hot tea tastes like medicine.  I always drank it when I had a sore throat and now when I drink it I feel like I must be sick.  And don't even get me started on apple juice. *shudders*

Which makes me wonder: if my mom had made me liver and onions when I was sick, would I crave that? (I don't know why she would make that...I don't really know why anyone would make that...but I'm just saying.) Conversely, if I always drank hot chocolate when I had a sore throat, would that taste like medicine?

And I think the answer is yes.

There's a reason why they call these foods "comfort foods," and it's not because they are actually more comforting than others. It's because of when and how we eat them. They're the kind of foods made in warm kitchens on cold days to be enjoyed with the whole family by a big roaring fire.  Or they're something simple and gentle, brought to you in bed on a tray along with your favorite movie and an extra blanket to snuggle with. And it's those things that really bring the comfort: the love, the warmth, the memories.

So as I go downstairs to make my husband a cup of hot tea (he, unlike me, craves it when he's sick) I'll throw this last question into the void. What are your favorite sick/comfort foods and why?

I look forward to reading your comments, and hope you'll take the time to share...


  1. When I'm sick, I also like the chicken noodle soup. I don't believe in any so-called healing power like some people do, just the comfort power like you said. Any brand is fine, so long as its chicken noodle. Like this one time I was sick, someone (who shall forever remain nameless) thought he would pick up some fresh, homemade soup from a restaurant. But it turned out to be this spicy gumbo-like soup, and as soon as I saw it I burst into tears. Funny how the wrong soup can do that to you.

  2. When I feel a cold coming on, I like and feel comforted and even a boast by a very plain soup, made with fresh green beans, green zuccini, celery, and fresh parlsey (one of my favorite herbs remember). I also add garlic and onion for a little flavor. It's recommended that you blend this soup, but I never do. This always makes me feel better.

    When I'm really sick, I make Mrs Grass, chicken noodle soup, with saltines. Chicken noodle soup and saltines, with 7-up is what my mother would give me when I was sick.

    Teas are something I find very comforting, mostly, Lipton tea,(not too strong)with a little (not very much) sugar. Second to that is Earl Grey tea, then English breakfast.

    My grandmother would always make me Lipton tea, with sugar and milk, when I was very young. It was our speical time. Usually, after cooking in the kitchen together. Very fond memories.

    If, someone really wanted to care for me when I am sick with a cold, not flu, Albondigas or Chicken Tortilla Soup (with lime)would be the best, Homemade of course. Why? because the hot chilies warm me up and clear my sinuses. Very comforting indeed.

    I give my grandkids Frozen 100% Juice popcicles when they have a fever! Do you think I will ruin them for life?

  3. K1Smiley: I'm with you, the wrong food when you're sick feels like the end of the world, doesn't it?

    And Sweet Older Sister, thank you so much for sharing. I'll try to remember to make you tortilla soup the next time you're sick. (And I agree, spicy food on a cold is the best. You can actually taste it, and it does clear your sinuses. Thai soups work well too...especially the ones with lemongrass. I had a couple of those in London because I had a cold and Mexican food doesn't exist over there.)


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