Changing of the Food Seasons
By Paul Morrone CFP®, CPA/PFS, MSA
With the warm weather knocking on the door, the food seasons are changing along with the temperatures, and part of me is sad. My emotional attachment to these meals starts before I even eat it as the planning and cooking process begins. A key element of a comfort food dish is that all the ingredients must be used in excess. When the food is cooked in vats, crock pots, casserole dishes and cauldrons, it’s hard to make a single (normal) serving of just about anything (I mean really, who makes just 2 slices of meatloaf – the leftovers are the best?!). Cheeses are measured by the pound, not by the ounce or cup. Pasta flows in abundance. We use terms like ‘roast’ or ‘loaf’ or ‘ham’ (not the cold cut – the whole darn thing) to describe the meat dishes. And, of course, a Sunday sauce isn’t complete without both pork and beef. Vegetables? Those just take up room.
Oh yea, we haven’t talked about the sides yet! My favorite is a hearty loaf of Italian bread. But often it could be vat of mashed potatoes to supplement a pot roast, some sweet butternut squash, or better, yet, some cornbread. No well-rounded meal is complete without a double dose of carbs. By now you’re either nodding your head in agreement with me or thinking I’m a Looney Tune, there really isn’t a middle ground here. The whole concept is absurd, really, but something about it just feels so right.
After what is usually an arduously long cooking process, its time to eat… but not before everything cools down or you’ll risk searing off your taste buds on the first bite. There’s something that happens mentally when you finally sit down at the dinner table in front of a meal that will ultimately result in you unbuttoning your pants. It’s almost taboo, a naughty feeling that you know you shouldn’t be doing it, but you’re going to anyway. You’ve slaved over the stove, waited for hours while the food was cooking in the oven, and now it’s time to dig in. Just thinking about it makes me nostalgic.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge fan of what’s on the horizon as the weather starts to break. Summer nights with a cold beer and a burger by the grill get me equally excited as a cold winter’s meal, but there is an inherent difference that I can’t quite put my finger on. In the coming months, we’ll enjoy what are sure to be several days filled with warm temperatures, bright sun, fresh shellfish, grilled meats and cold beers.
Food aside, what makes any meal complete is those you share it with. With social relationships being tested these days because of the distancing measures, it’s hard to believe only a few short months ago we’d pack a dozen or two people in the living room in front of a football game with an egregious amount of food in the kitchen. That seems like another world, and hopefully, one we’ll be able to get back to soon. It’s not often that I find myself looking back to the wintertime here in CT and wishing we were back in the think of it when it’s warm and sunny out my window. I guess that is another first for me 2020. For now, we’re here in our little bubble and its back to grilled chicken, steak, fish and veggies to get us through the summer.