Just as the hubs and I were headed out to take a long walk, a big thunderhead rolled in and blocked all our efforts to exercise last night. So what did I do instead? Baked pies! Technically, one was a spinach quiche for dinner and one was a cobbler made with the blueberries we had picked when the kids were in town and had frozen. By the time I went to bed last night, I had a belly full of delicious food, but a head full of guilt, seeings how I had already indulged in pecan pie at lunch yesterday.
Times of stress call for comfort food. Yeah, I know everyone says we shouldn't use food to comfort ourselves, but truth of the matter is we do. Why do we do this you ask? I believe it's because in times of stress we are looking for at least one thing which we have complete control over. Eating (the receiving of food into our bodies OR NOT) is one of the most basic human needs over which we have control. If you are sane and in your right mind, no one can force you to eat or keep you from eating if there is food around to be eaten and you can get your hands on it. Sometimes even when you are not in your right mind, you can exercise that control as well. Back when I was sitting with Grace, the receiving or rejecting of food was really the only thing she had control over right before she passed away. No matter what her caregivers did to try and get her to eat, if she didn't wanna eat, she didn't eat. Ditto with my mom before she passed away. We were all very upset that she refused to eat in the end, but the nurses over her care educated us on the fact that refusing to eat is one of the signs of being in the last days before death and it was her right to refuse food. The body begins to shut down its systems and has very little need of food in its last days. Wow, I had never heard that, but it did give me peace when my mom wouldn't eat.
So as the refusal to eat is our right, it is also our right and fundamental necessity to eat. We hear remarkable stories of people who get stranded in the wilderness and who eat things for sustenance that they would never eat in a normal situation. Eating is the most basic need for survival and people will do whatever it takes to eat. Some have had to steal for their food. Others have had to eat anything and everything to survive, including wild animals and wild vegetation. Truth be known, we would scoop up the roadkill off the highway if it was the only thing we had to eat and were starving. I myself would prefer hunting for berries in the woods before I'd eat roadkill. I am just a very thin hair away from becoming a vegetarian in the right circumstances. Unless it's Roadkill at Texas Roadhouse. I can do that Roadkill.
Then there are those of us who tend to totally overindulge with the freedoms of food when things get overly hectic or stressful. What's that old saying? When the going gets tough, the not-so-tough eat?!! I eat when I'm stressed. I eat when I'm sad. I eat when I'm happy. I eat when I want to socialize. There is never, ever an occasion eating is not appropriate in my book of rules. Chocolate is the ultimate picker-upper. Ice cream soothes us when we are upset. Salty chips and pretzels and popcorn pair so well with a good movie. We prepare delicious food when someone dies, when a baby is born, for weddings, for parties, for every occasion under the sun. And there are those of us who use food to do what we think it can truly do -- comfort us in our need to be comforted. I am the guiltiest of the guilty when it comes to this. I know that in the long run, it only comforts me while I'm consuming it and maybe for a short time thereafter, but still it feels good to have a moment of self-indulgence when I am in complete control over something.
So, in light of the fact that I have had added stress in my life recently, last night was a pie night. If we had been able to take our walk, I'm sure I would've been relieved of some stress in a much more healthy way in the form of exercise and might have made a better, more thought-out decision for dinner last night. But I'll just blame it on the thunderstorm. Besides, there's something about a rolling thunderstorm that makes me want to cozy up, hunker down, and cook something delicious. I couldn't control the weather last night, but I was able to control what we had for dinner. It's funny indeed what will inspire us to cook sometimes. I guess the coziness of a thunderstorm or snowstorm that locks you in bondage to the house for a while is one of my greatest inspirations to cook.
And the outcome of my inspiration was warm, gooey, cheesy, sweet AND savory, and was the epitome of the ultimate comfort food.
Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned. But I have confessed it to you and my dear friends.
Now I feel better.
Posted by CC
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