Traditional comfort foods seem to be lodged deep in our inner child. (Thank you Dr. Freud.) But cheesy pasta has never been my nostalgic drug of choice. When looking to unravel the knot in my gut, I head for Cream of Wheat or mashed potatoes, though certainly not on the same menu. Those were staples in my grandmother's repertorie, the feisty, Winston-smoking, South Dakota native who welcomed me into her kitchen as soon as I could stand on a stool. Cooking with Nana. How cliche, huh?
Thank goodness she taught me how to do more than boil water because I ended up having to cook dinner at age 9 for my brother and sister when our alcoholic mother left our alcoholic father. Man, that sounds so dark and Dickensian, but it wasn't as bad as all that in my revisionist history book. Messing around in the kitchen gave me great pleasure, even when things didn't always work the way they should. "Hey, we'll just keep the milk on the porch," my father declared when the fridge died, like he had invented some fun game called "roughing it, Kelly-style."
The comfort food of that era was meatloaf. I tried to recreate my mother's version, but settled for the recipe on the back of the oatmeal container. Not bad. Not good either, but it served its purpose.
So, what does it for you? Vote in my little poll and I'll include a recipe for the winning entry in an upcoming post.