Thursday, August 26, 2010
In Which I Give Myself a Coronary
So what is the purpose of comfort food anyway? Obviously it's to ease an aching heart. And what better way to ease an aching heart than to kill it?
My comfort foods pretty much all boil down to slow-motion suicide. Tasty, tasty, slow-motion suicide.
In no particular order:
Bacon. Okay, this is in a particular order. Bacon tops my comfort food list, and is arguably the most deadly. It's got yer salt for high blood pressure. It's got your saturated fat and cholesterol for atherosclerosis. And then there's the carcinogenic nitrates and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Comfort food indeed!
Bacon is, of course, its own reward. But it also makes salads more yummy, and can deliciously top everything from meatloaf and baked beans to cupcakes. (Note, however, that cupcakes are not a comfort food for me. I dislike cake in all its forms.) At last weekend's Portland BaconFest, I sampled bacon-infused vodka, maple bacon shortbread, bacon-and-pork meatballs, bacon pops, bacon-wrapped hotdog (see photo at top), and more. I probably cut five years off my life expectancy in one magical three-hour feeding frenzy.
So worth it.
Macaroni-and-cheese. A common comfort food, offering heart-coagulating levels of fat and cholesterol in creamy casserole form. My own variation is based on a standard. As a minor sop to my frightened coronary arteries, I make it with non-fat milk. But who am I kidding. Two pounds of Tillamook cheddar cheese in one 9x13 baking dish more than counteracts the modest benefit of skim milk. The potato chips crushed on top also contribute to my early death.
Still. Oh my gawd. I heart mac-and-cheese.
Potatoes. In all their forms. I usually wake up with the sads (eh, not really, but work with me here), so I need to comfort my aching heart over breakfast. In addition to the elixir of life, coffee, I like to make cheesy eggs and potatoes. The potatoes are in hash form, which I fry up first, Then I pour beaten eggs over the crispy taters. When the eggs are almost firm, I sprinkle shredded cheese over the top, flip it so the cheese can crisp a bit. Serve and eat!
Be still my beating heart. Literally.
Of course potatoes are also good in french fry form, mashed form, au gratin form. By themselves, they are relatively benign, but the cheesy eggy goodness which often accompanies them adds heart-stopping deliciousness. And, of course, too much starchy food has its own dangers, if less acute ones than the salt, cholesterol, and saturated fats of bacon and mac-and-cheese. Thus, potatoes qualify as comfortingly reckless in the quantities I eat them.
Hmmm. Maybe I should go eat a bowl of prophylactic oatmeal or something.