Thursday, December 18, 2014

This is What Happens When Academics Serve Up Comfort Food

The Myth of Comfort Food.  (The New York Times, 12/15/2014)

Getting it wrong from the start.
Feeling sad or stressed? Put down that Oreo or bowl of mac ’n’ cheese and brace yourself for another bummer: The emotional healing powers of comfort food may be overrated.

In my view, "comfort food" has never been synonymous with "chicken soup".  This first definition sums it up for me.

Merriam-Webster's definitions are based on actual usage; it's a description dictionary.

American Heritage has historically taken a more prescriptive approach to lexicography, but its dictionaries do not mention a healing aspect of comfort food.

Oxford's definition might give University of Minnesota researchers a smidgen of comfort, but "well-being" can easily be translated to mean "happy" and have nothing to do with emotional health and healing.

I make what I immodestly consider the best comfort meal ever:
  • meat loaf
  • baked potatoes
  • green bean casserole
It's a family favorite, and I always feel a great sense of satisfaction and contentment during the preparation, throughout the meal, and immediately afterwards.  But it's not meant to be a lasting experience, and I don't do it to "heal".

I rarely utter such complaints, but I sincerely hope that no public dollars funded this study.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

NASA funded, it says, hoping to improve astronaut health and performance. But the test to see if mood had improved came only 3 minutes after the food--not long enough to digest decently, particularly protein and fat. I'm going to continue relying on warm brown liquids (coffee, tea, hot chocolate and cider). Mara