I'm gonna expand on a comment I made over at the lovely and talented Golfwidow's blog because I don't think I really got to what I was trying to say in the short space of a comment mostly because I was fumbling around with the point and had to think about it for awhile before it became clear to me where I was going with what I said. She asked if her readers considered curry a comfort food.
To me there's a difference between food I crave and food that give me comfort. I crave lots of food. I crave smoked salmon every time I go to the grocery store, and I crave Inari all the time. I want ice cream every time I go to my parents house, and sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night craving fried okra. I get a lot of cravings, but there indulgence rarely comforts me. Sometimes I feel worse. Sometimes I just feel full, but for me comfort is a much more elusive proposition.
Today, for example, I lost a good chunk of money playing cards, and as a result I was craving a cigarette something fierce. I was comforted by the fact that I didn't have one. It's rarely such a direct one to one exchange, but I think that kind of illustrates the point I'm trying to make rather aptly.
The comforting aspect of food, for me, is heavily situational depending as much on circumstances and mood as on the content of the food to be consumed. I'm comforted when I cook a nice meal for friends or family, and we communally enjoy that food. I'm comforted when I eat things that I know I should over and against the ones I crave that I know I shouldn't have or have too much of. I'm comforted by a large heaping bowl of pasta on a rainy night with candles and Thelonious Monk and maybe a nice glass of Chianti. The world feels right in those times, and for a brief moment I'll be comforted.
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