This week I’ve been under the weather. I had no energy for anything including eating food, walking Django the dog or watching streaming videos.
I needed food that was easy to eat and digest. Django became Keith’s responsibility. And fifteen minutes of a British detective show was overwhelming. The clues, the gore, the non-linear plot — It was all too much for me.
Somehow the solution to my problem took me back to the 1960s.
Deep in the cupboard behind the tomato sauce was a can of Spaghetti O’s.
This 1960’s version of American processed food is the very definition of comfort food — lots of carbohydrates, high calories and bland. Strangely it triggers memories of childhood and mom.
Spaghetti O’s don’t even need a can opener. I just popped open the can (a technology invented in 1963), emptied the o-shaped pasta into a saucepan, heated and swallowed. Even chewing wasn’t necessary. It was great. But it also made me wonder about my nutrition as a child.
As I ate my Spaghetti O’s, I looked for comforting TV. Something familiar, with no violence and a story line that was easy to absorb.
I settled on Julia, a period piece that focuses on the year 1963 when Julia Child, author of Mastering the Art of French Cooking invented food TV. (Julia can be seen on HBOmax in the U.S.) She got it into her head at the age of 57 that she could teach cooking on WGBH TV public television in Boston. No one wanted her to do it. Not the men who ran the station or her husband who thought TV was a “fad”. She was quirky and middle aged. A stocky 6’2″, She was plain and had that odd voice.
She was also willing to self-finance.
Let’s just think about how crazy this idea was at that time. It was early in the feminist movement when there was little understanding of how valuable it was to reach a female audience Processed foods got loads of media attention compared to home-made from scratch cooking. Frozen TV dinners were all the rage. And American palate hadn’t yet grown to include international flavors yet.
Julia was a visionary and found her purpose late in life. She introduced international cooking to the American audience and connected with the woman who were her audience. She was funny and self-effacing.
I laughed, I cried, and I loved the fact that she had a group of loving friends, and a marriage that was both odd and romantic. I even loved the fact that she enjoyed getting “frisky”. The middle age sex and was featured several times during the season. It made me laugh out loud (or maybe it was the fever).
It was a great trip back to the 60s and I am feeling much better now.
Want to see Julia Child early in her TV career? Here is the first episode of Season 1 of The French Chef. Boeuf Bourguignon is available for free on You Tube.
What’s your favorite comfort food? What do you do to treat yourself when you are sick and need to feel better?