The days grow colder, and as darkness arrives earlier, we turn inward, to hearth and home. There, we seek nourishment and to nourish those we love.
I just poured my tea, hot and satisfying. Yet, nothing is as satisfying as creating a hearty bowl of soup, then feeling it round you out and make you whole–except, of course, sharing that creation and seeing it bring comfort to others.
In the past month or so, I have created numerous versions of ramen soup. Each version comes filled with nourishing vegetables and noodles, warming herbs and spices, umami of red and white miso, and the gift of a poached egg.
Other comfort foods also satisfy. Mashed potatoes immediately come to mind for me, both as my own go-to comfort food, other than soup, and the one that has brought me the most pride in the kitchen.
My favorite pick-me-up meal is mashed potatoes and gravy alongside a Coca-Cola with chocolate syrup.
The moments that I have felt the most pride in the kitchen include these two involving mashed potatoes: 1.) The time that I made mashed potato filling as per my grandmother’s knishes recipe and left it in the fridge, intending to use it for knishes the next day. My sister found the bowl of mashed potatoes, and not knowing that I had made them for knishes, heated them up and started to eat them. Then, she came into the room where I was sitting and said, “It’s weird. These taste just like Grandma’s knishes.” That’s how I knew that I made the filling for my grandmother’s knishes just right! 2.) While working in my college’s catering department, I made mashed potatoes for a dinner at which the honored guest was Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Enough said! (I am sure that she did several planks afterward: https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/02/rbg-ruth-bader-ginsburg-workout-personal-trainer-elena-kagan-stephen-breyer-214821)
Creating food for our loved ones can take place in the home, and also in the community. Love thy neighbor and provide food for those in need: participate in food banks, food pantries, and meal programs (https://www.bustle.com/articles/123384-the-difference-between-food-banks-soup-kitchens-food-pantries-and-how-you-can-help); donate to organizations that help those who face hunger and isolation in the community (such as Meals on Wheels http://www.mealsonwheelsamerica.org/americaletsdolunch, Feeding America http://www.feedingamerica.org/ways-to-give/, and No Kid Hungry https://www.nokidhungry.org/give/overview); and simply share a meal with someone who could use the company (since, admit it, we can all use the company too).
While popular during the winter holidays, it is important to continue to provide this nourishment all year round. For ourselves, our families and friends, and the greater community.