Comfort Fooding

Cornbread Supper, a weekly potluck at our house. Monday nights, 6 PM. You're invited.

Cornbread Supper, a weekly potluck at our house. Monday nights, 6 PM. You're invited.

Love it or loathe it, Tina Fey introduced a new verb this week: sheetcaking. Which led to thoughts of food as solace and comfort. Knowing when to march, when to join committees, when to run for office, and when to stay home and restore can be utterly confusing.

For me, though, food and meals and conviviality provide a frame. The privileges I have to cook, eat and share food with loved ones, friends and neighbors remind me what's worth fighting for. The blessings of liberty are easiest for me to see when people gather freely to share food, stories, hopes, and sorrows. At its simplest, justice, to me, means every human has the freedom and the means to gather peaceably with others and share good food and drink, and the ones who grow and prepare the food make a good living.

For me, both cooking and eating ease fears, soothe a sore heart and ground me in life's goodness. Escalating worries and anger recede when I reach for the chipped pink bowl my first husband's grandmother used for making biscuits, and gave to me. A sense of wonder at the steadfastness of people committed to our world and its long-term future rises from the cutting board as I begin trimming the firm young carrots Elmwood Stock Farm grew so thoughtfully. Gradually, I remember I am surrounded by people who pour out effort every day to be kind to those nearest them, to save our earth, to restore our agriculture, to make it possible for my grandchildren's grandchildren to thrive. And I remember, too, that I am called to work, to contribute, to speak in ways that help fight hatred and grow well-being in my house, on my street, in my neighborhood, in my city, in my watershed. That's my work, and that's my bucket list.

If I want comfort, what do I eat? Fresh fruit, often, or homemade fruit-veg juices. Rice crackers and nut butter. Or I cook something that connects me to people I love and whose memory I want to honor, even people I never met whose lives have made my life so rich. Some examples, from among the Savoring Kentucky recipes:

As it happens, Savoring Kentucky recipes also include a fabulous gooey sheet cake. Plus a tribute to the wonders of grilled cheese. Who knew they would ever be included in the same paragraph?

Sponsors noted in this post include Elmwood Stock Farm. Thank you!