Comfort Food (Essay, Part 4)

Life would be so much easier if we could eat whatever we wanted. I think cows live like that. No one tries to boss bovines around and tell them what they should eat. One time a friend treated me to something I didn’t want, a healthy salad luncheon. I remember chomping through the lettuce like a buck-toothed mule. Evidently, my friend was worried I might get as fat as a pig. Sure, I’d rather be lithe as a graceful swan. But mules are stubborn, pigs stink, and even swans are bad-tempered (unlike cows). Eating whatever you want may not solve all our problems–but it’s a start.

I have a recipe I got from the mother of one of my daughter’s old boyfriends. The dish is called Funeral Potatoes, which I assumed meant it was a standard potluck dish to share at funerals for families grieving the loss of a loved one. Funeral Potatoes are the very definition of comfort food, the basic ingredients being hash browns, soaked and baked with a half cup of butter, two cups of sour cream, and two cups of grated cheese.

It’s sadly ironic that my daughter’s old boyfriend was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumor and not expected to live very long.

“He wasn’t even a smoker!” my daughter cried, trying to understand how a brain tumor could happen to someone still relatively young and healthy.

“He may not have been a smoker, but he’s a human being,” I told her. “We’re all prone to mortality.”


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