Not all comfort food is greasy, it can be unexpected and easy

Not all comfort food is greasy, it can be unexpected and easy

A couple of weeks ago my sister called while I was making dinner. When I told her I was heating up leftover soup and making grilled cheese with apples and mustard, she laughed.

She thinks it's silly or maybe even outlandish that I can't just make a normal grilled cheese sandwich (with American slices or Kraft cheddar) with canned tomato soup. If it ain't broke...as they say.

Unlike my sister, I love cooking and consider it a stress reliever, comforter, and creative outlet. On particularly tough days, I want nothing more than to come home, open a bottle of wine, and make a big pot of risotto. The basic steps of chopping, measuring, and stirring are reassuring. And the process of taking a handful of pantry ingredients and turning them into a creamy, savory bowl of warmth makes me feel like, if nothing else that day, I accomplished something.

fruit and cheeseBut on other days, I make a much simpler comfort dish, one that my sister often makes too: A fruit and cheese plate.

Some people only serve such a plate at parties, but for me a cheese plate is comfort food.

You see, when we were kids, Mom made a few staples on our always-hectic weeknights--spaghetti, barbecue chicken with green beans and cornbread, and crockpot pot roast among them.

But on weeks when she didn't make it to the grocery store or just didn't have the time or energy, Mom would sit with us on the couch at the end of a long day and we'd have cheese, fruit, and crackers for dinner. Sometimes she'd have to scrape the mold off the orange cheddar block before cutting it into slices. She'd methodically cut fruit and cheese alternately and pass them around to each of us to eat with saltines. Sometimes, if we had it, there was deli meat or veggies.

Occasionally, or sometimes weekly depending on the hectic-ness of the schedule, I sit down to a favorite show and have fruit, cheese, and crackers for dinner.

So does my sister. I add wine and switch up the cheeses and crackers for something more to my tastes. My sis adds a bloody Mary and olives. (See, Rae, sometimes it's ok to switch up a classic.) Either way, I think we both find the meal of snacks relaxing, and peaceful.

Do you have a favorite comfort food? What meal brings you back to a special moment or time of your life?

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