I’m sure we all have them. Foods that just instantly put us in our happy place. For some people, it’s sweets, for some, a certain recipe that only Grandma or Ma could make the right way.
Foods, like smells, have a way of instantly transporting us into a memory. Certain foods cause our systems to release feel-good chemicals into our bodies, causing our moods to improve. Food nourishes our bodies, our minds, and our souls. Cultures are defined by it, using it to communicate with the rest of the world in the language of flavor. Family bonding is done through the process of cooking together or teaching younger members how to make a certain thing that has been a tradition, time-honored by that group of people. It’s amazing.
I bet you couldn’t tell. I frickin’ LOVE food.
I want to share my happy place foods with you, unassuming foods that will turn my frown upside down any day of the week. There’s nothing fancy here. No crazy recipes, just stuff that makes me happy when I put it in my mouth.
I have no idea what it is about cottage cheese that I love so much. Bonus points if there is home canned fruit with it.
My mother used to serve this all the time. Every time I eat it, I feel like I’m 10 again, and tonight is the only night that no one had to beg me to finish my vegetable. I like to oven roast it, with a little orange juice, butter, brown sugar and molasses inside it, then fill it with a scoop of rice to soak up all that sweetness.
My favorite cracker. I eat them plain, and when I get into a box, I can’t stop. I try to get myself to have some cheese or something with them, but it never works out, they are just too good out of the box. I especially love the ones that are a little over baked… every now and then there is one in the box that is darker around the edges. So good. I think my love for this cracker was born of the fact that it’s my father’s favorite. Eating them always reminds me of him.
Pear Salad (‘Green Stuff’)
I couldn’t even tell you what’s in it. I believe some of the ingredients are canned pears and green jello. My grandmother used to make it for holidays, as a child I would call her up before a big family gathering and say, “Grandma, you have to make the green stuff for me.” I can taste it as I type this, even though it’s been at least 10 years since I had it.
Being a Minnesota native, this was always a staple in our home. No matter where I have lived in this country, I take this food with me, and make it in my home, and love to feed it to people who have never had anything like it. My husband is hooked on a few variations of it. There are countless ways to make Hotdish, resulting in many different and unique recipes, but one thing remains the same. They are all hearty one-dish casseroles, that are served piping hot, most of them have potatoes, and they all use cream soup as a binder, flavoring, and sauce. This is a thing all over the Upper Midwest United States, but my home state even has an annual Congressional Hotdish Competition that was started in 2010 after the Midterm elections by a former Senator. Talk about a region taking pride in their food!
What are some of your happy foods? I’d love to know in the comments!
Thanks for reading!