Thursday, January 26, 2012

America's top ten comfort foods (assuming I am America).

Food. It's all about the food.

I can't speak for other households, but within the confines of my brick and mortar, it's a topic that trumps all others—how much we have, why don't we have a different kind, and most commonly, what form of it are we having for dinner?

As my children have grown, so have their opinions and tastes regarding meals. Even when we all agree to dine out together, we often can't achieve consensus on a suitable restaurant for all.

It's freaking ridiculous, it is.

To stem our profound chronic nightly meal deciding fatigue, my wife and I ultimately decided to hold family dinner planning meetings every Sunday prior to the weekly grocery shopping trip.

Similar to the Discover Card at many businesses, we no longer accept the term "something good" as a dinner idea from our ankle biters. Less guessing means less stressing.

And after a couple of years of employing this routine, I've discovered that my family's most popular meal ideas consist of what are commonly known as "comfort foods."

How do you feel about that term—comfort foods?

I bristle a little when I hear it, since it rings of a subtle snobbery. It implies that you're opting for commoners' fare, like you've forsaken the silk lingerie in favor of those jammies with the built-in feet. So be it.

Maybe it's a ninety-nine percenter's thing, but I was raised on comfort foods. Oh, sure, some of those cold and soulless fruits and vegetables appeared along the way, but I think my parents were just trying to be politically correct.

So screw the sushi, to hell with the hummus. Here are my top ten comfort foods:

10) Meatloaf and mashed potatoes—These must be served together to maintain their top ten position. Every time I watch "A Christmas Story," I wonder why Randy doesn't pay them the respect they deserve.

9) Sloppy Joes—You can go slightly uptown by using ground turkey, but I recommend 80/20 ground beef, topped with grated sharp cheddar. You need not be really broke or really stoned to declare your devotion to this saucy treasure.

8) Anything sold at the Costco food court—Nothing beats a cheesy ranch chicken bake prior to weaving through the throngs for a thirty pack of cheesy ranch chicken bakes.

7) Chili—Great on a really cold or rainy day, again topped with grated cheddar. Not so awesome in July or while riding in the back of a U-Haul with a bunch of fraternity brothers, but still worthy of the list.

6) Grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup—We're actually having this tonight. And since we only have eight slices of bread left, I've offered to eat the sandwich made from the heals. Team player? Guilty.

5) Spaghetti—If spaghetti were served at communion, I'd be so ensconced in the Catholic Church that I'd be Cardinal Timothy by now. Jesus, I love spaghetti.

4) Cream of mushroom soup-based casseroles—I'm surprised that more condemned prisoners haven't requested green been casserole topped with Funyuns as a side dish to hamburger-tater tot casserole. Now that's what I call a last meal.

3) Chicken pot pie—My step mom's is so delicious that I offer to chew it for other family members as a courtesy.

2) Macaroni and cheese—Whether it's Kraft dinner or a sixteen-cheese baked masterpiece, I'll eat that shizz until my lower gastrointestinal tract is obstructed like a golfball-stuffed garden hose.

1) Pizza—You know when you've got a huge, gooey slice of pizza and you're forced to hold it over your face and lower it for that first bite? If I could string every first-bite-of-pizza moment from my life back-to-back-to-back and experience the entire event over one weekend...oops, suddenly I'm fourteen again.

There you have it. Feel no shame, for comfort foods are the people's ambrosia.

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