What’s the deal with comfort food?

I think many of us have rallied around food for comfort in 2020. It seems most conversations I have with loved ones this year include virtual work/school accommodations, updates on protocol from frontline workers, and the current food obsession. Some people may think it unhealthy how food represents comfort; however, it is a necessity for life and, one may argue, a thriving life. 

This holiday season, it’s not surprising that I’m longing for tradition. Like so many, being forced to altering tradition due to the pandemic is disappointing and frustrating. Although I haven’t been able to bake for my extended family, baking for YOU through Sabbatical Vibrations Bakery has filled a void. I would normally bring two or three pies to thanksgiving; instead, I was fortunate to make 80 mini galettes for customers. Similarly, instead of sharing treats with family that traveled near and far, there was comfort in baking nearly 1000 cookies for the bakery. Food traditions slightly (or significantly) altered, can be comforting. 

Food connects us; it sustains life for the body and soul. 

Sharing stories of food traditions

A while back I asked blog readers to share their food stories with Sabbatical Vibrations. Following are stories shared, which I thought may invoke your own memories of food traditions. 

Mona writes:

Before I was married we didn’t have potluck meals in my family. My Mom did all the grocery shopping,  meal prep, and making the table a banquet for her loved ones, both family and friends. She taught me the gift of hospitality and cooking for large groups.

Once I became a part of the Trebesch family, I learned the art of potluck where each family member had a special recipe for a special dish to share. It made family gatherings easier to know that Auntie Shirley was making taco salad, Auntie Lois was making something with cool whip and pudding and Auntie Mary Lou made her ever changing pasta salad recipe. 

That may be why when we get together now we each bring something to add to the meal. I love the group preparation, the family conversations while making something delicious to share, and the finished product. 

Our recipes tend to be called Highfill meatballs, Auntie Mona’s Sloppy Joes, Steve’s Mom’s dressing, or Matt’s favorite salad. Each name brings anticipation of a well loved food as well as favorite memories when when have shared the dish in the past.

We are people who love to eat. But we also must remember, our family culture and traditions feed our souls.

Another reader shares a favorite Christmas tradition. Alison writes:

My food tradition story is about a dish my extended family shares at Christmas time. The first course of our Christmas meal is always Risengrod, which is Danish rice pudding. It is a very simple dish made from only rice and milk – but you can sweeten it up with a little bit of sugar, cinnamon, and/or butter. 

Everyone gets served a pre-scooped dish of the rice pudding….but one of the dishes contains a secret! An almond is hidden in at the bottom of one of the rice pudding cups. Whoever eats their Risengrod to the bottom of the cup and finds the Almond wins a special prize….usually just a silly white elephant gift. 

Lot of laughs have been shared about this tradition. Even though the placement of the almond is completely random, there are a few family members who seem to get it more than others 🤔 and there was even a time or two when a family member smuggled in an almond and planted it in their own cup! 

I don’t know how this tradition began but it’s always a favorite part of Christmas time that unites our family and creates many happy memories.

Sharing your traditions

Thank you to Mona and Alison for sharing their stories with us. I am all ears if you have a story you’d like to share. 

Story sharing is one of our values at Sabbatical Vibrations. We value the pricelessness of story sharing. Exchanging stories gives meaning to life, fosters belonging, connects the past to the present, and gives hope for the future.  

In the meantime, Happy Holidays and cheers to health, comfort, and tradition!