Friday, April 6, 2012

Food is my Friend

Yes, food is my friend. Obviously, that is a requirement for any foodie, but I'm talking more about food being used to "cure what ails ya". Where comfort food becomes more of a security blanket than sustenance.

Crazy cat lady
For years, I suffered from clinical depression. I was a nervous Nelly, scared of my own shadow, insecure, afraid to speak in public, feeling responsible for every mistake that I ever made and was slowly becoming the neighborhood crazy cat lady. Besides my cats, I relied on food to calm my nerves, to keep me company, to give myself praise when no one else would.

Cinnamon buns
I was raised by carb-happy parents. It wasn't unusual to find from four to five different kinds of bread in use at the same time, not to mention the goodies brought home from the bakery when Mom got done work or the cakes Mom would bake because she enjoyed making them. Mom loved spaghetti and mac-n-cheese, but Dad had a serious dislike for pasta, so we'd pretty much have those when he was working shift work. Cinnamon buns (aka sticky buns) were a favorite breakfast. When they began to get stale, Mom would slice them in half, butter and pan fry them to renew their freshness and get an entirely new taste sensation.

Chicken potpie was also a very popular meal, particularly in winter. Now, this isn't something that has a crust. This is strips of dough cooked in boiling chicken stock. To give you an idea how much got made each time, Mom used 9 cups of flour to make the dough for just the three of us! She'd make an entire canning pot full of potpie (something similar in the South is called dumplin's) that we would enjoy for days. Pure carbs served with cranberry sauce and chicken on the side (that didn't always get eaten because it was the dough we were after). A dish born out of necessity when times were hard became the ultimate comfort food. I still love it!

At any rate, although I'm no longer clinically depressed, it does still make the occasional visit as does anxiety, so I will find myself falling back on those old days of self-medication through food. I have to be careful since I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes a few years back, but I do allow myself those days since they are fewer and farther between than they ever used to be.

It's interesting that the foods I turned to most frequently when upset or sad also tended to be high in carbs. Potpie, mac-n-cheese, pizza, cheesecake, pretzels, potato chips (don't eat these much any more) are all on the list. I find these days that tortilla chips and salsa are almost as satisfying as the more carb-laden foods but without the same negative ramifications.


  1. I suffer from depression as well and being a Southern girl, food has always brought comfort.

  2. love me some good old fashioned comfort food too--esp. pot pie!

  3. Because the big D visited my roomy a few years back, I now cook all of my pasta dishes with whole wheat pasta and I love it. I use a lot whole wheat flour when baking allows. Cookies cannot, imho, be made with that so I try not to make them often. I used stevia(sp?) instead of sugar and it is delish. I cannot tell the difference in anything I have added it.
    Carbs are not all bad, the whole wheat ones are actually healthy and just can't be overeaten.
    Everything in moderation allows us to still enjoy our favorite comfort foods.

  4. food... such a delicate subject... so good, yet can be so bad.... nice write...

  5. Carbs I think are naturally comforting, not sure why. Mine has always been butter pasta.