The meaning of comfort food becomes very real when you go to a place that has different comfort food.

My earliest memories are being part of a farm family that settled in the Ohio Valley in the 1700s. Riding with my Grandpa on the John Deere tractor is a happy memory.

In 1966, two months after I turned 5, my family moved to Spain.

  • No corn on the cob
  • No watermelon
  • No fried chicken
  • No rice crispies
  • No peanut butter
  • No ice cream

After 5 years in Spain, my comfort food became chorizo, paella, churros, fresh baked loaves of bread in many shapes, nisperos, pipas (sunflower seeds), figs, olives, olives and more olives.

In 1971, we returned to the US where my school mates told me that since I lived in Spain I must love tacos and enchiladas. And, when I asked what were tacos and enchiladas, they told me that I couldn’t have lived in Spain, if I didn’t even know that. And, I learned that food knowledge is not universal. And the adult world is even worse yet; they now tell me that the first three items of my first comfort foods are a racial slur. Oh, good grief. I will be whatever race you want. Just don’t take corn on the cob, watermelon and fried chicken from my long list of comfort foods.

Then I married into a Hispanic family, adding beans and rice to my long list of comfort foods. A very not-politically correct American Indian friend joke that I had “gotten myself some dark meat.” Maybe drumsticks are his favorite too.

The common thread in all of this is cooking … good cooking … family cooking.

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