Thursday, March 6, 2014

Today I realized it was the death of a friend. A very once good friend. The best friend. I used to begin every day with my friend and it put me in a good mood for most of my day; so just some chatter about just about anything made me then want to settle down and get some work done. Motivation in life therefore is important. The death of a friend is so much worse than even the death of a person. You justify that kind of death due to illness or a terrible accident or old age. You find a reason for real death but the death of a friend is by choice of an emotional departure. It is rare that choice is mutual. Someone is happier and someone is devastated.
So today I sought comfort food for breakfast and what could be more comforting than a stack of pancakes? Today I needed really good pancakes since when emotions fail to comfort, you then seek food or exercise or sex, something physical.  Any simple indulgence can give you closure. I also realize that like a diary, the blank page here that I fill with my choice of blah blah each day is comforting to know that you read it. I can’t hear or see you.  Like or hate my thoughts and you do have that option to x out this page at any time. Thanks for reading my rants.  In seeking an idea for really good pancakes I went to the Internet.

I found out that a   pancake is just a canvas. It is what is added to the batter is what makes it a true indulgence. I found recipes   for banana walnut, apple cinnamon, oatmeal   raisin flavor and even a carrot cake  pancake.  Can you even still call it a pancake when you add all that stuff to it?  You can find it all from the popular recipe site called Just A Pinch who even gives awards to great pancake ideas. There must be a lot of people out there that needs comfort food. There is even a food historian who wrote an entire book about pancakes called Pancakes A Global History, by Ken Albala.

 I learned that there is a legendary pancake house in Nashville called Pancake Pantry that has been in business for 50 years. They serve stuff like cornmeal pancakes or southwest, or Caribbean, raspberry delight and the owner Dave Baldwin says a really good pancake should still have lumps in the batter and sit awhile before cooking to rise a little. Well the crap I made this morning just rose a lot and I unhappily  just barfed it all out .  Disgusting.  Already what a crappy day. Wish I knew how to make comfort food. 

When you were sad you always found your Mom. As a little boy nothing felt better then resting your head on her shoulder and her running her fingers through your hair in a comforting gesture. Mom’s always smell good too. And make the best food. They take pleasure in feeding people and in giving them pleasure. On TV the Mom is Chef Lidia Bastianich   She has written 9 books on Italian style cooking.  Who doesn’t like eating Italian?  She is all about the comfort of family and friends and food. At her book signings it is not uncommon to see mothers and their children happily waiting in line to meet her.

Nona or grandma is seen in her show tasting her homemade soups offering suggestions of more or less salt for flavor. Lidia lives with her Mother in Queens, New York where I spent most of my youth. Lidia’s daughter and her family lives two blocks away from her. I lived across the street and one block away from my wife’s parents for years. Yes, family was never too far away then. After spending 15 years cooking on PBS or the old channel 13, she has even introduced her grand-children to us all. Family should always be a comfort at least when you are all preparing a good old Italian meal together. My job was always to make sure the meatballs were good and the sauce was just right with a crunchy piece of bread dipped in it till I got swatted out of the kitchen for tasting too much before dinner time.

Lidia is famous for her user friendly Italian recopies but she is now a major player in the fast paced world of cooking. She has become a major league celebrity chef because she feeds that hunger in people for comfort in an ever growing stressful world.  At age 24 her and her husband opened a 9 table restaurant where her fame all began. To feed people and make them happy gave her pleasure. She now has seven restaurants and add to that the TV shows and the cookbooks, the wineries in Italy to mention just some of the food related enterprise’s she owns with her son who markets products for her in her name. Her son Joe and her daughter Tanya make it all one big family business.

Her latest venture is a brand called EATALY. Their latest project alongside her longtime friend Mario Batali, attracts more than 5 Million people a year. She will be opening another one in Chicago. Lidia is the professional chef who was invited to cook for the Pope and also just the comforting Mom with a good pot of chicken soup made extra special with those tiny meatballs thrown in for fun and flavor. I will miss my morning friend but I hope I won’t seek too much comfort in food.

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