Is comfort food ever sophisticated? I think not. Comfort food comes from childhood. It is wrapped up in memories of other things. For me, it is the first time the weather was warm enough in the Chicago area for my mother to pull the shorts out of storage. It is the long trip “downstate” to visit the family homestead in Jacksonville. It is hours playing “cops and robbers” with a gaggle of neighborhood kids. Cutting out Betsy McCall paper dolls at my Aunt Lelia’s house.
There are lots of permutations of my childhood comfort foods. Onion dip and potato chips snuck out of the kitchen and consumed by my sister and me in our bedroom closet on a Saturday morning. Sugar cookies from Mr. Pottinger’s deli near our house. But the most comforting of comfort foods is this: a sandwich consisting only of processed American cheese and mayonnaise.
How 1950s. The bread must be soft and the crust must be removed. A single layer of cheese and a good smathering of mayonnaise. Perfect in its simplicity. There’s a lot of stress in my life right now. We are selling our house (we hope) and downsizing. My nonprofit is getting ready to move back into our flood-damaged warehouse. The contractor wants to know about phone lines and computer ports. I don’t do phone lines and computer ports. Flood relief is ongoing although most of the country thinks Nashville is just fine. It is not. That weighs heavily on my mind.
So I make a cheese sandwich. I feel better.