My favorite snack!
How many times do you smell something cooking or take that first bite of something and you’re transported back in time to a special occasion or your childhood, Grandma’s house or getting a quick bite before a doctor’s appointment?
Whenever we have baked sweet potatoes, pools of melted butter mixing in with the soft, sweet flesh I always think back to when I was sick. I was sitting up in my parents’ bed and on my lap was a plate with a hot sweet potato, butter melting as I mashed it in the skin with a fork. It is the best tasting thing in the world, and it makes me feel calm and better.
Speaking of food when you’re sick, chicken noodle soup is known by some as Jewish penicillin and the ingredients blend together to make the common cold disappear or at least wave away the symptoms so sleep will come.
Other of my comfort food favorites include:
The perfect grilled cheese. Two to three slices of cheese depending on their thickness. Instead of buttering the bread, I put the butter in the pan as if I was doing French toast. Before flipping, I add more butter. I cover the sandwich with a pan lid until the cheese is perfectly melty. I have also used ghee instead of butter, and this is an excellent substitute.
Matzo ball soup. I use a box mix, which says to simmer for twenty minutes. I let it simmer for an hour, at least, sometimes longer. After the first half an hour, I’ll add baby carrots (fresh or frozen), some chives, and leave it until dinner time. Delicious.
Macaroni and Cheese. Kraft. The blue box. (The 7oz. one.) I use butter and not margarine and add milk for creaminess. I could eat this all day, every day, and I am the only one in my house who makes it right. (That’s not me saying it; that’s the rest of them.)
Fruit and Sour Cream. I don’t know when in childhood I started eating this, but it is delicious, and healthy, and comfort food at its best. I cut fresh fruit into pieces and put in a bowl, add sour cream, and that’s it! No sugar, no granola, no nothing; just fruit and sour cream. My favorite fruits to use are: bananas, strawberries, blueberries, peaches. It can be all or some, but the bananas are a must. (I have no idea why!)
For the last six Wednesdays, beginning with Ash Wednesday, my parish has been delivering soup weekly during Lent. Typically during Lent, they would have a noon Mass and then have a community soup lunch in the parish center, but since covid arrived last spring, this was their reaction to the cancelling: a limited delivery service for the remaining weeks of last year. In 2021, they started delivering right at the beginning.
It’s been a wonderful idea and example of works put into action. Every week, my family looks forward to seeing which soup is that week’s, and tasting something that we normally would not have made ourselves.
Since the kids are learning remotely, they are home to run outside when we hear the car in the driveway and bring in four soup-bowl sized containers filled with the steaming hot soup of the day along with four soft pieces of (usually sourdough) bread for dipping or spreading with butter on the side.
Every slurp of broth, every bite of fresh vegetables is a reminder of the greater community of the church. There are gatherings in the parish kitchen (covid protocols always in place), chopping, cooking, ladling, packaging, and delivering our midday bounty. And for us at home there is a brief respite from our individual remote workings to come together even for a moment for each of us to collect our containers, talk a minute about what kind of soup, and appreciate the greater community around us.
It is a time when all of us at home can come together to enjoy the offering midday, mid-week, mid-Lent. We share the same meal, unlike most lunches during the work and school day, and we ooh and aah as our taste buds come alive. A couple of times I was able to enjoy lunch with my kids when their lunches coincided with the delivery.
We find out that our parish cooks like pepper and/or garlic depending on the soup. In mid-March one of the soups that contained corn had the most delicious, crunchy kernels of corn. It tasted like summer corn and I savored every tiny bite. Chunks of tomato in the bean soup surprising me (in good ways) with its red broth rather than white. They were all delicious and filling and made for a wonderful, satisfying lunch. There was rye bread with the corned beef and cabbage soup and a cracker sized pie crust round to go with the chicken pot pie soup, both wonderful change-ups and delicious.
On the last day we received a cheerful card from the students in youth ministry. I’m already looking forward to next Lent and hoping that they do this again. I’m not ready to give up my weekly soup so I even made matzo ball soup on the weekend for Passover.
I don’t have any of their recipes, but I’m sure varieties of them can be googled, so I will include the names of the weekly selections: Creamy Vegetable Chowder, Hamburger Barley, Cheesy Potato & Corn Chowder, Tuscan White Bean, Corned Beef & Cabbage, and Chicken Pot Pie.
When I was a kid, we used to eat sliced up bananas and peaches with a dollop of sour cream. Alright, maybe a little more than a dollop.
I loved it!
Sometimes, we’d add in strawberries.
After doing some grocery shopping and having just the right ingredients in the fridge, I decided to try my hand at this delicious, refreshing treat!
Peaches are out of season, so I substituted blueberries.
I started my collection with gifts from friends, and not every tea has agreed with my palate, but they’ve opened me up to try new things.
I have two favorites in particular – The Walking Dead Daryl and Supernatural Survival Tea. I tried the sample tins, and reordered the bulk bags.
There is also an option to mix and create your own blend, which I have yet to try; it is definitely on my to-do list.
In recent days, I’ve been enjoying a morning cup of tea, and I hope to continue with my fandom favorites.
I have a few go-to teas that I drink regularly or carry with me to conferences, vacations, and other times tea is needed, and honestly when isnt’t it?
They do change over time, so lately my go-to teas are Twinings English Breakfast Tea and Prince of Wales tea, and PG Tips, all with milk and just a little bit of sugar.
Today was a little different, though. I had an appointment at the mechanic’s. Instead of bringing my own tea, I knew that they’d have tea available, and I was very excited by my choice:
At home we don’t have a Keurig, so when I’m here I need to re-learn how to make the tea, but it’s not that difficult.
I’m enjoyng my second cup.