Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thankful for...Comfort Food

Potato soup. Food Styling by Kate Mercer
I will never be a foodie. I will never be a bon vivant. And if I had a cooking show on television it would be called The Frantic Chef.™ Don't try to steal that. It's mine. It's the latest hit on Food Network because it's full of drama.

If I have more than one dish going on the stove at once or one dish that requires a lot of work, I am FRANTIC. I'm kind of shocked I haven't chopped off a digit yet in my rare, misguided attempts to prepare gourmet meals from Cooking Light and Bon Appetit.

I will never be the person who is calm and cool in the kitchen, sipping wine, visiting with company, and with seeming effortlessness, whipping up an elaborate meal that makes everyone swoon. That's not me. 

I am, however, the person sipping wine and whipping up the one-dish meal while wearing her pajama pants and fuzzy socks. Oh yeah, I am all about one-dish meals. 

Tonight, I made potato soup. Tina sent me the recipe earlier today. It was easy to make and delicious. 

2 packages O’Brien-style hash browns
2 cans cream of chicken soup
2 cans milk
2 cans water
2 chicken bouillon cubes
½ TO 1 lb. Velveeta, chopped (Life is short. Go for the full pound!)
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix together the hash browns, soup, milk, water, bouillon cubes, Velveeta cheese, salt and pepper. Cook 30 to 45 minutes over medium heat, stirring often, careful not to scorch. 
Serve with French bread. 
(Need meat? Add chopped ham, chicken, crab, crawfish or shrimp.) 

Sometimes I worry myself to the point of anxiety. I do this at night in private. I work myself up about Jacob going to college in a year and a half. He has no college fund. I work myself up about how I am an irresponsible parent. My son is so intelligent. I want him to have every opportunity to succeed. It feels like he was born barely a moment ago and here he is practically a grown man, taller than me, driving, applying for a job at the movie theater up the road. He is *thisclose* to applying to colleges. Here's me: FRANTIC. 

I freak out about bills. I am not making as much money as I once did. I am wondering what will happen when I am too old and senile to work, and I end up on the streets pushing a shopping cart full of books, wearing a tin foil hat and a T-shirt that reads, "I still (heart) George Clooney." 

On the outside I look calm and together, but inside my nerves are a jangled mess of FUTURE FUTURE FUTURE OH MY GOD THE FUCKING FUTURE! 

See, that's me: The Frantic Chef. 

So it should be no surprise that I like comfort food. A warm meal in a bowl? Oh, hell yes. 

Bring. It. To. Me.

I will eat it while I am curled up on the sofa, my feet tucked up under a throw blanket, the television tuned to something funny, a cloth napkin draped over the arm of the sofa. 

Is the world ending? Some say it is (because they are idiots). OK, let's say the world is ending. A meteor in the shape of Barack Obama's beautiful, big-eared head is hurtling toward the planet. Oh, so sad. Are you wearing your apocalypse pants? Do you have all your doomsday gear stacked up in the garage? 

I have no doomsday gear in the garage. 

But I have some cheesy, warm goodness in a bowl and my apocalypse pants have an elastic waist. 

I feel better already.

I am thankful for comfort food. I am thankful for one-dish meals that can be made by cranking open can after can after can. There is nothing frantic about working a can opener and dumping stuff in a big ol' pot, turning the heat to medium, stirring occasionally, and warming a loaf of crusty bread in the oven. Don't forget the butter. 

 If this world goes down, it will go down with me on the sofa eating cheesy potatoes out of a bowl, my friends. Mmm, good. 

Note: This week I'll write each day about something for which I'm thankful.

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