My Favorite Comfort Foods
Sometimes when I’m tapping away in the middle of the night, I need a snack. Not just a fill-the-belly, stop the rumbling snack, but one that brings back memories of my childhood:
Grab a medium sized cast-iron frypan, a couple of pads of butter and a bowl of Cheerios. Heat the butter until sizzling, then pour in the bowl of Cheerios. Keep stirring until they are hot and some have browned a bit. Get them off the stove and back into the bowl quickly so they don’t burn. Some people add a few shakes of salt, but I like them plain. Both my grandfather and my Dad showed me how to make these and this is usually the first hot stove top recipe my kids learn.
Saltines and Milk
Another gift from my grandfather: crush about 3/4 of a stack of saltines into a bowl and add milk. That’s it. I looked for any reference to saltines and milk, or crackers and milk on Google, but apparently this isn’t all that common. My wife thinks it’s weird, too.
Dad’s Chop Suey
This is one of those things that everyone says they make, but everyone’s recipe is completely different. I remember my Dad simmering a big pan full of coarse chopped green pepper chunks, onions, hamburger, sliced kielbasa, crush tomatoes, tomato paste, and a good helping of Italian spices to which he adds elbow macaroni a little while before serving. My brothers and I would wolf down bowl full after bowl full while my Dad would make cracks about each of us having a “hollow leg”.
Instant Mashed Potatoes
OK, I’m likely to get in big trouble here, seeing that potatoes are one of Maine’s major crops, but, lately, I have been sneaking into the pantry and making off with portions of the dried mash potato flakes my wife keeps there for baking. Nuke a cup or two of water in a bowl, add potato flakes until most of the water is absorbed, a little butter, salt and pepper to taste… hmmmm. For all my Maine readers (and Idaho, for that matter), I’m not saying they compare to fresh smashed potatoes, but taken on their own merits, instant mashed potatoes hit the spot.