Got to thinking about comfort food yesterday after a particularly rough patch. A lot of people think about macaroni and cheese or pizza and such when they think about comfort food but, for me, that’s not it. Comfort food is the stuff your mother made you when you were sick or had just lost a boyfriend or got ditched by your “best” friend.
Since my mother was not an enthusiastic cook, my comfort foods are simple. When I was sick, it was Campbell’s tomato soup and dry toast strips with ginger ale. She also made me, and I don’t know why, peanut butter and butter sandwiches. I always have one when I’m feeling a little blue. Cottage cheese on buttered English muffins is another one. My comfort foods are bland. Maybe it matches the mood.
So last night, I had another one of my go-to comfort foods. Grape-nuts. With skim milk. Grape-nuts are neither grapes nor nuts. They are crunchy nuggets of some grain-like substance. I am sorry to report that there is only one manufacturing plant in the United States that makes Grape-nuts. It’s in Ceres, California. I just read a story in the Wall Street Journal that describes the manufacturing process.
On the factory’s fourth floor, all day every day, objects with the proportions of hewn firewood and the heft of cinder blocks hurtle along a conveyor, dive into a steel chute, disappear down a black hole — and emit what sounds like a startled scream.
That sounds like comfort food, doesn’t it. Sadly, the story also reports that Grape-nuts make up less than one percent of all the cereal consumption in the United States. And all three boxes are in my refrigerator (if you live in the South you know you always keep cereal in the refrigerator and flour in the freezer).
So I may have to start stockpiling Grape-nuts just like I had to sweep the pharmacy shelf of Vaseline tubes at Kroger before they discontinued the only kind of tiny tubes of Vaseline with no additional flavoring that anyone made. I have them in a grocery bag in my bathroom closet. I’m weaning myself on to Chap-stick, but it’s painful.
The one good thing about Grape-nuts is that if you keep them in the refrigerator you can just ignore that “best used by” date on the box. They’re good to go for at least four years.