13 September 2008

Comfort Foods

Being two and half weeks from my due date, I now know how women get the courage to endure labor, perhaps even with gusto. I am so miserable most of the time that the thought of bringing this chapter to a close sounds delightful, even if it could involve hours of sporadic pain, hospital machines and perhaps even stitches (yikes!).

Of course I'm ecstatic to meet our little guy and that, too, is great motivation. But the yo-yo of lack of sleep one day and zombie symptoms the next coupled with constant but not-yet-productive contractions are driving me crazy.

So, if I find a couple of minutes of comfort in something as simple as pudding, don't judge.

I can't remember the last time I made pudding (given the above comments, of course I'm speaking of instant pudding). It's been so long I forgot how easy and fast it is. Just mix the powder with milk and wait five minutes.

Lime green pistachio pudding never tasted so good. Sweet, cool and creamy.

The pudding binge was a bit random for me, but perhaps it fits in well with my overall pattern of shopping, cooking and eating lately. My grocery bills have crept up in the past few weeks as I've thrown things in the cart that I haven't dared to buy in years -- Keebler cookies (Deluxe Grahams and Fudge Stripes), powdered lemonade, Saltine crackers and, yes, Jell-O instant pudding.

I've had several people ask me whether I've had strange pregnancy cravings. I wouldn't say that I've had cravings. I had the very common food aversions in the first few months, but I have never had a hankering for pickles and ice cream. I'm pretty sure this is a myth, much like pregnancy lasting nine months (it's actually nine and half, and if you think those last two weeks don't matter, I dare you to call me right now).

The foods I'm craving now aren't strange or gross. They are very much in line with things I've craved when I've been very sick. They're my comfort foods. By that I mean they're foods I found in my mom's kitchen when I was a kid. And these are just the packaged foods. I've also indulged in a dish my dad used to make us for breakfast, a poached egg on top of toast with syrup, and last week I made a mean tuna casserole straight from my mom's recipe one night and a heaping pile of mashed potatoes another night.

There is a deep connection between the foods of our childhood and those we crave when we're in need of something later life -- sick, sad or celebrating. That explains why ethnic foods are such a huge part of immigrant culture. And why, in nearly every culture, holiday traditions are closely tied to foods.

So make sure you've got something in your pantry that can pass as a comfort food in a fix. You never know when you need a little something to lift your spirits. If you're pregnant, I'd advise upping the rations -- you're gonna need it. In the meantime, I'll manage through the next few weeks with pudding what ever other quick, random dishes I can gather the courage to throw together. I'll keep in mind, however, that a few weeks after Lil P is born, my mom will come for a visit. I'm hoping she brings a hankering to comfort us with some great foods. Somehow, I think she'll be more than happy to!

1 comment:

Karly said...

Ahhh, yes, comfort food. The night before I had to take my cat in to be put to sleep, I HAD to have macaroni and cheese. But not the good kind. It had to be Kraft from the blue box, prepared exactly how I ate it as a kid (on the dry side). Eat up! After nine-plus months, you deserve it.