So, in my moment of needing some new inspiration in my life, I picked up this cookbook. Published in 2014, so it’s by no means a new one. I haven’t done a lot of Jamie Oliver recipes, but I like his approach to food, and I certainly like the accent (but that’s a different story). I’ve read a few reviews on Amazon with people complaining that it’s not comfort food but rather exotic dishes like Tikka Masala – but while it may not be comfort food to most of us Americans, I think people forget that this book was written by a Brit – and they love their curry’s over there.
Comfort food is different to everyone. I like what he writes on the opening page: “comfort food is completely subjective – it’s about smells, sounds, and tastes. It’s about recipes that … have the capacity to pull out explicit feelings and old memories …”
When I talk about comfort food, I’m talking about foods that invoke memories of childhood, of happy times in our lives – foods that have the ability to make us feel calm and at peace.
I have often said that cooking is therapeutic to me – just being in the kitchen can instill a sense of calm over the knots inside; having a good cry over the pot I’m stirring is cathartic. But lately, that hasn’t been happening for me. My life is so full and I often feel so overwhelmed that cooking a meal is just one more job I have to do. I work evenings every week now, so my husband is the one home with the kids at dinner time – which means I don’t do much (if any) cooking during the week. I’ve tried to get the weeks meals churned out on the weekends so that during the week we’re subsisting off of leftovers, but then my weekends are spent entirely in the kitchen and I’m left feeling stressed out over all the cooking to do.
I’ve needed to find that sense of peace and calm again, whether it’s from the food I’m eating or what I’m cooking – or both. So I was hoping that this book would help me. There’s certainly plenty of recipes that I want to try, recipes that fall in the ‘comfort food’ category, but then there are those that are far too involved (like the chicken schwarma), or recipes I simply won’t do at home (like the fish and chips). But then there are the ones like the bun cha bowls that I just can’t wait to try.
I’m struggling to find balance in my life. Maybe food can help me do that. Food and time to recharge. And wine. Wine is like duct tape is to men – it fixes everything!