Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Comfort Food

I made a chicken pot pie the other night. Not really earth shaking news, I realize. For whatever reason, I've never made one before. I've defrosted several and I have done the Bisquick and cream of chicken soup trick, but never made one from scratch until the other night. Big mistake was starting this project at 6PM. We didn't eat until 8 and I worked pretty much that entire two hours cooking all the parts, including the topping, and putting it together. Its much more of a rainy Sunday afternoon project and I will try it again when I'm not so rushed.

It was good. Not the best I've ever had, but good.

The best I ever had was a week or so after Maggie was born. She was still in the NICU and we were reeling trying to adjust to everything while still handling two little boys. One of the moms of a kindergartner in Eddie's class organized  the parents to volunteer to bring us dinners. That was a godsend. I could spend the entire day at the hospital because Eddie was in Kindergarten and Tim was in preschool. I picked them up at the end of the day and went home and didn't have to think about shopping of cooking or anything.

The organizing mom, (whose name I cannot recall because they moved away at the end of that year) was the first to bring dinner and it was a giant dish of chicken pot pie. I served some to the boys and sat down with them to eat. Steve went to the hospital after work in the evening. The first bite calmed my frayed nerves and melted in my mouth. I think that is when I fully understood the meaning of the term comfort food.

The next morning I had some more for breakfast and it had the same effect. It seemed to strengthen me for the day ahead facing medical terminology I did not yet understand and wondering if Maggie would make it another day. I ate it for every single meal until it was gone. That was nearly 18 years ago and I can still remember how good that stuff made me feel. I could feel the nourishment, the kindness and the support of people in every bite.

Maybe that's why I've never tried to make it. There is no way I could ever measure up.


  1. I have an easy low-fat version that you make with puff pastry. I will send you recipe if you're interested. My family LOVES it!

  2. This is such a beautiful little paean to comfort food and what feeds the soul.

  3. They're not as good as homemade, but our "hang in there" gift to friends is sending Dean & DeLuca chicken pot pies. Especially when you have to cook for a family and deal with a loss or a crisis, it's been a universally appreciated (and eaten) gift.


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