Comfort Food

We all have those certain foods we take comfort in. Many of these are meals and/or recipes from our past. The food reminds us of better carefree days from our past. Some of these foods we grew tired of when we were young, but now they bring back wonderful memories.

My mom was the queen of comfort foods. She had a cadre of recipes that I now crave and try to emulate when I can. Her sloppy joes were exceptional as was her shrimp pasta salad. I remember her meatloaf and especially making meatloaf sandwiches out of the leftovers. Also, who can forget when tuna casserole was all the rage. All of these things were made from scratch and it was real food.

Desserts were another specialty of my mom’s. Apple pie was my favorite. She also made a delicious Jello cake with Cool Whip on top. For snacks, my mom used to give me graham crackers with frosting. Of course, my life was also bettered by the cookies. We had chocolate chip, peanut butter, oatmeal, molasses, and snickerdoodles. I swear, my mouth is watering with all these memories.

Where ever I have been in my life, I usually identify certain foods with it. I’ve already mentioned some of the foods from my youth (thanks mom), but as I became an adult, other foods stand out.

After I turned 18 years old, I used to hit the bars with my friends. After closing time, we would inevitably head over to a local restaurant chain called George Webb’s for some chili. George Webb’s is famous in Milwaukee for their promise to give away free hamburgers when the Milwaukee Brewers would win 12 games in a row. Since I was almost always drunk when I ate the chili, I really can’t tell you if it was good or not, but man oh man, I sure ate a lot of it!

When I was stationed at Fort Bragg, I found myself eating a lot of grits, but that’s really not the food I associate with it. It’s Korean food I learned to love while I was there. I made friends with another soldier who was married to a Korean wife and her family owned a nice Korean restaurant in Fayetteville. Before we would go out on a Friday night, we would always stop there to get started with our evening. My favorite was Yaki Mondu. I could eat that stuff all night!

Then came Germany. I would need another blog post to cover all the food I liked there. Most notably, I loved to go to a little imbiss in Esslingen that gave me the best currywurst I’ve ever had. Only once have I been able to replicate the sauce and it was the one time I didn’t write down the ingredients I used to achieve this. I also found myself loving all the various schnitzels and almost any of the accompanying gravies. German desserts also had a hold on me with the many fruit dishes and chocolate snacks.

Now that I live in the Northwest, I am definitely into all the seafood, especially salmon, as well as all the desserts that can be made from blackberries, apples, marionberries, and any other berry from this area. I’ve smoked my own salmon and even learned to make what they call “salmon candy,” which is a smoked salmon heavy with brown sugar.

Obviously, I could go on and on with all the other foods I missed. This is just what came to mind. I didn’t even touch on my homemade bratwurst recipe or various pasta salads we’ve developed through the years. Also, my wife’s goulash and French toast are the best in the world.

Moral of this story? Food is life, life is food. That about sums it up.

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