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my ultimate comfort food dinner – veganmofo 3

3930562108_f07c8dec17Though I have no intention of turning this into a personal blog – that’s what my LJ’s for, hey? – I have to say that this week has been painful and difficult on many levels. Hence the still-spotty blogging frequency.

Because this week’s been a whole lot of terrible with a generous helping of sad, I’ve been thinking about comfort food. There are a number of foods that I reach for when my battered soul needs soothing; depending on the situation, it could be anything from steel-cut oats to chocolate cream pie, grilled cheese and tomato sandwiches to nachos, mock tuna salad to potato chips soaked in pickle juice (seriously, TRY IT), chocolate almond milk to a cheap white zinfandel.  But when life is extra kick-you-when-you’re-down, and the world is harsh, and everything is hurty, there’s only one dinner I want.

I spent 9 of my most formative years – ages 6 to 15 –  in Texas. I hate cliches but live the whole “you can take the girl out of Texas…” chestnut. I still say “y’all”, and maintain that it’s one of the most useful words ever. I still secretly want the Cowboys to win, even though I loathe football and avoid it at all costs. I still unconsciously slip into my drawl when prompted by external stimuli – an episode of “Designing Women”, country music, “Steel Magnolias”, talking with someone else with an accent. I still drop the “g”s from my -ing words; I have to make a concerted effort to correctly pronounce “royal” and “oil”. I still adore cowboy hats and want a couple of pairs of cowboy boots. I still refuse to leave the house in sweatpants or similar garb.

And food? Y’all, please. I still love Frito pie, salted tomato slices, Dr. Pepper, ranch-style beans, food slathered in BBQ sauce and cooked over charcoal, chili, hushpuppies, chicken-fried [insert vegan chicken analog here], Tex-Mex, Big Red Soda, pecan pie…I’ll stop now. So, see, it’s no wonder that I want what I want when I most need comfort eats: comfort food

Meat analog, smothered in gravy. Mashed potatoes, also smothered in gravy. Sauteed greens. Homemade biscuits (not pictured).

Sometimes I can’t bear to dirty another bowl for biscuits, so we’ll have locally-produced whole wheat sourdough instead. dinner 9-14 2

My love for Cedar Lake chops knows no bounds. F’real. I love those things so much I buy them by the case. I season ’em and pan-fry ’em until they’re brown and beautiful and a little bit crispy. I mash my (skin on!) potatoes up with lots of Earth Balance, soy milk creamer, salt, and fresh black pepper. I saute my greens with heaps of fresh garlic and red pepper flakes. I ladle the chops and potatoes with Road’s End Golden Gravyclose up comfort

It ain’t good for me. It’s probably bad for me, actually. It uses a couple different packaged foods, a category of noms I generally try to avoid. The greens are the only nutritiously redeeming part of the meal. It’s definitely a “sometimes” dinner (thanks, Cookie Monster). But man alive, it warms my heart and soothes my soul in a way that no other foods do. With this in front of me (especially with my kid next to me and an episode of Buffy cued up on the DVD player), all is right with the world – at least for a little while.