I had lunch with a friend of mine yesterday during which the conversation got around to that of comfort foods. Hers, apparently, is unbaked choc-chip cookie dough. Out of context, that sounds mad… but I can totally relate. If I’m baking, I always have to ‘test’ the mixture and who didn’t love ‘licking the bowl out’ when they were a kid? To this day I swear it’s the best bit of any baking episode. Even if you are eating raw eggs. But still. In context, the whole sentence made me laugh. This friend had been having a bit of a tough time and said her housemate… ‘found me sitting in front of the TV, watching a chick flick whilst wearing my pyjamas and eating raw cookie dough. I’m being a stereotype! Leave me alone!’
My friend Nik posted about comfort food the other day, and in the wake of yesterday’s conversation, I got to thinking about it myself. Everyone’s idea of comfort food is different, of course. People’s taste buds and favourite foods vary as much as the food that’s out there in the first place. I was reading an interesting article on the BBC News website this morning about the obsession with chocolate. The tl;dr version of the article is that people crave chocolate because of the chemicals it releases. Yeah, thanks, research team for hashing over old ground. People have known this about chocolate for years and yet scientists are still getting funded to research it. Maybe people also like chocolate because, well, because they like it? I’m not a huge fan of chocolate myself; given the choice of chocolate, vanilla or strawberry ice cream, I’d hit up vanilla every time. It’s not to say I don’t eat chocolate, I do. It’s just not something I MUST HAVE OMG every single day.
I have much less of a sweet tooth than Himself, who will eat biscuits like it’s some means of saving the world. The hand to mouth motion becomes a blur and possibly breaks all records. This is an actual photographic record.
For myself, I lean towards the savoury route for my favourites. There are two particular things that I crave when I want to eat for comfort. Potatoes, as Nik says. There’s something inordinately welcoming about a jacket potato straight out of the oven, or a huge bowl of mashed potatoes or roasties or…
Wait a moment, need to just mop up the drool.
But number one, the head honcho, the quite literal Big Cheese for me has to be cheese on toast. The toast has to be crusty white, the cheese generally a good mature Cheddar and there has to be an involvement from Mr. Worcestershire Sauce. A huge doorstop slab of cheese on toast chases away all the negativity for a while and brings me happily to food Nirvana. I have eaten at some pretty nice restaurants over the years. I have eaten some of the most incredible dishes. But nothing beats perfect cheese on toast. There was an advert a while ago for Farmhouse Cheddar (I think it was) when one person saw another making/eating cheese on toast and they got a craving for it… and started of a chain of people slavering for the stuff. Even my son, who is a self-confessed cheese hater (but who will eat pizza), tried some and acknowledged that it may be the Best Thing Ever. It’s not something I have all that often, but whenever I do, I wonder why it is that I don’t have it more regularly.
So… comfort food. What’s yours?
In other news, I am about to fire up the ol’ word processor and get back to Project: Carpark. I’ve neglected it a bit this month in favour of finishing Project: Comeuppance. It feels remarkably good to be back in the writing flow – which is probably why the blog posts have been coming thick and fast this week. I find that writing a blog is a great way to get myself into the mood for turning my attentions to fiction writing.
The Best of Hammer & Bolter V2 was released – contains a couple of my bits of work and a whole host of other Warhammer 40k and Warhammer Fantasy short stories. If anthologies are your Thing, then you could do a lot worse than pick it up! There’s also a collected edition of Space Marine short stories to be found in the Space Marines anthology.
I’ve had a couple of people contact me about my Fox Spirit short story Blood Bound, which is available in tree or digital version, to ask whether I plan to write more about the two main characters. This is always a massively satisfying thing to hear and the answer is… very likely. If Adele lets me, of course…