The Q&A Hole: What’s Your Favorite Comfort Food?
Because everybody needs some gastrointestinal cosseting sometimes
By Wayne Alan Brenner,
10:00AM, Mon. May 22, 2017
That annual First Plates issue of ours, an excellent guide to the best of what’s available among a burgeoning diversity of local dining venues, worked a theme of Comfort Food a couple of weeks ago.
And so, yes, your Q&A Hole is a little late to the party here, and in fact all the brie’s already gone and there’s only half a bottle of flat Topo Chico on the kitchen counter, woe is us.
But damned if we don’t check in with several friends & neighbors right now, to see what their favorite de-stressing noms are …
Cliff Wildman, video producer: Peanut butter. When I want comfort food, I want it now. Jar. Spoon. Bliss.
Danny Palumbo, comedian and chef: Linguine and clams – Vongole. I actually never ate it sitting down. It was always family meal at the restaurants I worked at as a teenager, when you had 10 minutes before service to cram pasta down your face before getting an ass-kicking on the line. It always takes me back to kitchen days and high school. Still eat it standing up.
Vanessa Marie Gonzalez, comedian: My favorite comfort food is mashed potatoes because it makes all my feelings go away.
David Lamplugh, artist: Broccoli Rice Casserole! The creaminess of a good one, like they have at Threadgill’s. And, with the broccoli, on a clear morning you can almost imagine that you’re not consuming one billion carbs.
Jayme Ramsay, musician & improviser: I'd have to say chocolate pudding. Sweets are special treats. I've always thought this. You don't eat them for practicality; you eat them for pleasure. Chocolate pudding, out of all the treats, kind of became medicinal and practical in its own way, I suppose, while also being a treat. I used to eat it constantly during my menstrual cycle. Kozy Shack makes this stuff that's absolutely delicious, and compared to other sweets, the pudding has more protein and less sugar. WIN ALL AROUND. Now that I think about it, I only really have it when I'm feeling low or achy. I also think it's fun to play with. I glop it around with my spoon and sometimes make shapes with it in the bowl: melting monsters and the like. That's fun for me. I need fun when I'm feeling icky.
Joe Brundidge of Writing on the Air: Oatmeal Raisin cookies. Good to me and somewhat for me – huge metaphor for my life. If I'm able to get to the Epoch on North Loop, I have to have their salted oatmeal raisin cookies. They are amazing.
Chris Nicholas of Staple! Independent Media Expo: That's like asking which is my favorite baby. I do love many, many comfortable foods. If I have to pick, and since that's the point of this exercise, I'm going with the Patty Melt. I don't have it very often. It seems hard to find these days – even Denny's took it off the menu – and a lot of places don't do it right. Texas toast?!? Egad, no! Rye bread, you Philistine! Swiss, not cheddar! Russian dressing, not a 1,000 or however many islands! And the onions are grilled! Anyway, I dig it for the rarity and that it reminds me of my childhood. I recall it being one of the first things I had when allowed to order for myself, not knowing what it was, at five or six years old, in Odessa, Texas, at the (un-PC) Sambo's restaurant, a prodigal culinary adventurer. The patty was melted and so was my heart.
Fritz Blaw of Motorblade Postering: I have fallen (un)wholly and fully for the organic Oreos-like cookies called Grabbits™. They so closely mimic the cookie I have disappeared under quilts to eat with endless milks (now lattes) and a good space-tech yarn for my entire life. Yet, they are now, magically, organic – and thus, incontrovertibly, healthy. I have my own special – turn away, now – style: Put the cookie in your mouth, add milk, and wait for it to dissolve, while reading.
Mo Daviau, author: In the days after the election, all I wanted to eat was pilaf, the staple rice dish of my mother’s Armenian-American family. The shock and sorrow made me hungry for the childhood food that tasted like love, so I made it for myself night after cold November night, sometimes with a salad or a piece of chicken, but usually I’d just sit and eat the whole pan by myself. Over the course of my childhood, my mom grew stingy with the butter and would only use a dab of margarine out of fear of weight gain – and because of this, I lost my taste for pilaf and only returned to it as an adult who was in full control of the butter. And when I make it, I use a lot of butter, which I brown at the bottom of the pan for a pleasing charred flavor. Current events being what they are, I am not going to cheap out on the butter. These are full-flavor days.