Comfort: How We Eat to Soothe Our Souls

Food is more than macronutrients and micronutrients. Food is how we express love, how we communicate, how we comfort and care for ourselves. I’ve wanted extra tenderness and gentleness in the past few days, and food has helped me have it. I love to try new foods, new flavors, but this week has been about needing the familiar flavors of comfort.

Eliminating grains, legumes, dairy, and sweeteners can make it more challenging to get that warm, fuzzy feeling that a meal prepared just so can bring. If your family was anything like mine, you were fed some combo of dairy and wheat for birthdays, illnesses, stormy days, or any other occasion that warranted nurturing. Some of the comfort foods I didn’t choose to eat this week include homemade mac and cheese, biscuits and gravy, and freshly baked chocolate chip cookies.

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Ghee cooling on my countertop makes me happy.

Instead, I made ghee. Rich, smooth, and glowingly yellow. Ghee is my favorite fat. (Shhh, don’t tell bacon fat or coconut oil!) Starting the day with butter melting and simmering while I cooked up some eggs was perfect.

That night we roasted a locally-raised organic chicken that The Farmboy traded for last fall at the farmer’s market. Tarragon, lemon, and sea salt gave the bird some flavor boosting, and the whole things was roasted to a golden color with crispy skin and juicy meat. On the side we ate cauliflower rice with peppers, onions, and other veggies we had on hand. We also ate some of the kale from our chest freezer, sweet from the fall’s frost and drippy with ghee.

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Our roast chicken dinner, mid-meal. The big jar is homemade kimchi, and the other jar is dilly beans, both from farm veggies this last fall.

Then we started a pot of bone broth, and it simmered til the next day. Tonight brought bowls of a beautiful chicken soup, rich with the broth and leftover meat, and filled with colors: the orange of the carrots, the silver of the sauteed onions, the deep green of the kale and the lighter green of slivered celery, the pretty golden of the rutabaga.

After eating my bowlful, I forgot all about any yearning for some variation of wheat-and-dairy, because chicken soup is really just that good on it’s own. I would trade all manner of treats for one more bowlful, but the only leftovers are headed to my freezer for emergency use later. You know, the kind of day when you need someone to draw you a bath or clean the kitchen and mop the floors, or both, and there is no time to cook. Just knowing it’s there is comforting, too.