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Random Thoughts: Is comfort food a comfort?

February 21, 2014

Ever walked into a store thinking, "I'm not buying anything, just looking?"

That could work, of course, if the store wasn't one of your favorites. Not only are you familiar with the merchandise, but you could wander over to a section that should have no interest for you because you are not buying today.

No, wait, it's the bargain section. There's always an interest in that part of the store, and right off the bat, you know the no-buying edict might not hold.

Your favorite store could be County Market with its green tags or Rite Aid with its buy-one-get-one-free items. No matter, you are in heaven looking at all the things you could buy but aren't going to buy. That's willpower. A person who is just in the browsing mode.

Well, not this time, 'cause it is a book store, and there are rows and rows of bargain books, and some of those are cookbooks.

Why should a person look at cookbooks when one not only doesn't cook but also doesn't even grocery shop?

Oh, but it's a book about comfort food.

Now, we all have our own definition of comfort food. It could be spaghetti. Or it could be a bit of pigs in a blanket. Pizza comes to mind or mac and cheese. Some folks might think comfort food is simply a piece of bread with Gramma's homemade jam on it.

Whatever floats your boat into a sea of well-being can be termed comfort food. The most intriguing thing about the comfort cookbook and, hence, the reason for the purchase, were the blocks of facts and interesting quotes throughout the book. To learn something. Isn't that a flimsy excuse for buying a book?

This one is the best. The government sticking its nose into things, and not only the government, but also the highest court in the land. Many people would say that the tomato is a vegetable, even though botanically it is a fruit, since it is the ripened ovary of a seed plant.

Well, the United States Supreme Court decided the issue once and for all in 1893 by declaring the tomato a vegetable. Confess. You really thought the court only decided the serious stuff.

Why not include the states in wasting time? Well, wait a minute. With all the serious stuff legislators have to decide, maybe they need a bit of levity. Massachusetts is thinking of making the Flutternutter the official state sandwich. And how do we make a Flutternutter? Take two pieces of white bread and top them with equal scoops of peanut butter and marshmallow creme.

Another staple in the Massachusetts diet is, of course, the Boston baked bean. Why? Puritans did not allow baking on Sundays and, thus, a pot of beans baked on Saturday afternoon became lunch on Sunday after church.
Let's get into some serious eating here with the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest held every May in Memphis, Tenn.

It is touted as the largest pork barbecue cooking contest not just in this country, or even the world, but on the planet. Maybe Punxsutawney can get its chili contest up into that realm of thinking.

Here are some facts that will win the quiz show for you. There are about 250 cherries in a cherry pie. How do we know? We took the time to count the pits. Of course, if you bought the cherries in a can, the counting chore would be a messy one, 'cause the pits are already out.

Did you realize pears are one of the few fruits that ripen better off the tree than on the tree? When someone asks you to name all the things one can find listed in the rose family, don't forget to mention plums, peaches and apricots.

All these nonsensical facts from a book of recipes. Did you really want to know that it is a wise precaution to wear rubber gloves when removing seeds from a jalapeno pepper?

Or that Carl Swanson had some leftover turkey he didn't want to spoil and plopped it into a metal dish and started the frozen TV dinner craze? Or that in 1802, Thomas Jefferson brought to the White House potatoes that were served in the French way, which we call now call french fries?

Gee, whiz, we never even got around to telling about the recipes in the comfort book. Maybe some other time.

This month's teaser has nothing to do with food, but it does come from the comfort cookbook. Name the author of this statement: “You miss 100 percent of the shots you never take.”

Here's a surprise about what service academy first admitted women from last month's teaser. It was the Coast Guard Academy in July 1976.

Did you know any of this? Well, now you do.

Roberta Dinsmore can be reached at randomrmd@yahoo.com.

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