Comfort in food

“You know what I love about cooking? I love how in a world where nothing is sure–and by nothing, I mean nothing–you can come home and absolutely know that if you add egg yolks to chocolate and sugar and milk, it will get thick. It’s such a comfort.”

~Julie Powell, Julie & Julia. 2009.

I watched this movie last night, and I forgot how much I love it. Having read “My Life In France” well before the movie came out helped me appreciate this movie even more. In cooking school was when I found out about the awesomeness of Julia Child, and was obsessed with owning a copy of “Mastering The Art of French Cooking.” The memoir made me want to own it even more. It was such a labor of love, and it has enriched generations of cooks, including me.

No lie, when I found a copy I could afford, I cried. I’m serious. It’s sad, but true. I got a copy of “Mastering the Art of French Cooking”, and was so happy to have it that I cried, even though I had bought it for myself. Clearly, I have issues. Just imagine how I would’ve reacted if someone had bought it for me!

One thing I loved about reading “My Life In France” was how I felt like I related to Julia. She was in a place where she was trying to figure out what to do with her life, and I was in that place also. She found a love for food in France, and that’s where I found my love for food as well. I didn’t attend cooking school until 5 years after I acknowledged that I might have an obsession.

Once I was honest with myself, I went to school to learn more about cookery and the art of making good food. The smell and sound of stock simmering over the stock became like a love ballad to me. It was fascinating to me that foods I loathed as a child were now becoming my favourite things to eat! It’s still amazing to me what a little seasoning and butter can do to add flavor to things!

I’ve been out of cooking school for a few years now, and food continues to comfort me, but here’s the thing: I tend not to eat emotionally. If anything, I have problems eating when I’m upset. What I tend to do is pour over recipes and even cook some of them. When nothing else makes sense to me or life seems uncertain, and even upsetting, baking a good batch of cookies often does the trick. Soften the culinary gold know as butter, and cream it together with sugar. Chocolate chip cookies are often the cookie of choice for me. I remember once being homesick when I was interning, and I baked cookies at least thrice during my 3 months away from home. Something about the aroma of the cookies baking in the oven made me feel better, and not so far removed from home.

Now that I am home more often these days, it’s easy to get stuck in a rut. This is when I turn to my recipes for some kind of comfort, and even excitement. I love looking in “The Essential Asian Cookbook”, or even drooling over some of the recipes in “Mastering The Art of French Cooking”, now that I own it. Something else that’s fun to flip through (for the pictures, mostly), is “The Ghiradelli Cookbook”. I do have 2 chocolate cookbooks, and I have yet to cook something out of any of them. Shame on me, I know.

Well, I’m thinking of a fab idea when I get a little bit of money (yep, I’m still looking for work): Julia’s pick and chocolate day! Perhaps these two things can be a new year’s resolution. We’ll see.

I’m learning that food provides comfort in more ways than just eating it; it’s merely one way that food can help you through tough times. I hope my love of food never quells; I don’t know what I’d do with myself otherwise.

Let the love of food inspire you to cook on.



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