Friday Food. Nostalgia.

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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.

Chicken Noodle Soup.
(c)2021

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.

Perfect Grilled Cheese.
(c)2021

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.

Matzo Ball Soup.
(c)2021

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.)

Macaroni and Cheese.
(c)2021

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!)

Fresh Fruit with Sour Cream.
(c)2021

Pass Me a Fry

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I feel nostalgia welling up inside, ready to burst out. There is sadness and melancholy and what’s next, and I just don’t know. I have my lists of things to do. It is only March, and that’s good. The kick in the butt is good because it is still early in the year and I can get it done. Well, get it started. I just need to be unafraid. Not an easy task. I don’t want things as they were, though; I want them better. Is that even possible?

I don’t know why, but right now I’m thinking of McDonald’s fries. When I was a kid, my Dad would drive way out to Queens to get McDonald’s for dinner. (Believe it or not, but McDonald’s wasn’t on every street corner.) So we’d drive out to Queens and whoever went with him got to sneak some fries. Mainly, he’d ask for one, and the person holding the bag would pass him a couple of fries and then take a couple.

All the way home.

They were so hot. I almost always burned my mouth. By the time we got home, one of the fries were completely or almost completely gone.

We started buying an extra order of fries for the ride home, so no one was mad at us when we got there.

Even today, eating a cheeseburger or a Quarter Pounder makes me remember those moments as a kid with my Dad eating fries. It is not lost on me that it isn’t when I eat the fries, and it is only those two burgers. They taste exactly the same as they did back then.