Last time I took my life in my hands and went to the grocery store (I used the most socially distant form of checkout I could think of–the “Scan and Go” app on my phone, and pretty much straight out the door when I was done), I picked up a few of my favorite things to tide me through this frustrating and sometimes difficult time. And this morning, I enjoyed a toasted bagel with cream cheese, smoked salmon, a little red onion, and capers, along with an excellent cup of coffee. (I like the store brand, Nicaraguan, and grind it fresh).
Granted, the bagels weren’t from my favorite deli, but they were fresh-made at the store. I’ve eaten smoked Scottish wild salmon, and nothing else quite compares, but it was very good. Cream cheese? What’s not to like about cream cheese? (The “original,” I hasten to add; no “low-fat,” or “low” or “zero” cream cheese, or anything else for She!) And the capers and onions add piquancy and a bit of “sour” and “bite” underneath the goo-iness of the cream cheese as it melts into the bagel, and the gorgeous color, texture and taste of the salmon. It wasn’t quite perfect, but it was delicious and mood-lifting.
“Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are,” wrote Anthelme Brillat-Savarin in his Physiology of Taste, or Meditations on Transcendental Gastronomy. An often-hilarious, always informed, wonderfully wise treatise on food and the human condition, it’s a must-read if you love social history in general and cooking in particular.
But, with that in mind (and in case anyone I care about asks me to confess my eating and drinking habits), I’ve tried to move on from the stresses and strains of my working life, and my conviction for a considerable portion of it that the four food groups comprised cholesterol, alcohol, sugar and caffeine. And I think I’ve reached a point where my diet is pretty healthy, but still wide-ranging, inventive and delicious.
What special foods, or treats, are you eating (or drinking) to settle your nerves, calm your fears, ease your frustrations, lift your spirits, and get you through?
PS–Other comforting nuggets from Brillat-Savarin, all of which I consider words to live by:
“Carefully prepared chocolate is as healthful a food as it is pleasant.”
“Those persons who suffer from indigestion, or who become drunk, are utterly ignorant of the true principles of eating and drinking.”
“A man who was fond of wine was offered some grapes at dessert after dinner. ‘Much obliged’, said he, pushing the plate aside, ‘I am not accustomed to taking my wine in pills’.”
“The truffle is not a positive aphrodisiac; but it can, in certain situations, make women tenderer and men more agreeable.”
“To invite people to dine with us is to make ourselves responsible for their well-being for as long as they are under our roofs.”
“The discovery of a new dish does more for human happiness than the discovery of a star.”