Comfort food feeds the soul. On December 22, 2022, on a very cold night after a difficult week, I am thawing a bag of frozen Betty’s spaghetti sauce, boiling some spaghetti and pouring some really good red wine. Like everyone else I know, I’m tired at the end of this year. A few days of rest would be a great Christmas celebration. On December 25th, I expect to enjoy a Scrabble tournament with my mom which I will inevitably lose while watching an old Bette Davis movie (or something equally satisfying). I’m too singular to have much shopping to do. But, on the Thursday before Christmas, I am happy to have some of Betty’s spaghetti sauce, a dish that will always remind me of my mom’s cooking even though (according to my sister) my recipe is significantly different from the way she used to prepare it.
I wondered how many times I ate this in 2023.
I ate it when I was happy. I ate it when I was sad. I ate it to console myself and I ate it to celebrate small and large (mostly private) victories. I ate it when I felt rich and when I felt poor. And no matter what mood I was in when I ate it, I pretty much ate it alone in 2022. But I was not entirely alone because I have my 90 year old mother close by, and I have some really good friends, and I have my dogs and my art and music and books and a roof over my head. Comfort food reminds us of those things. Comfort food is about the loves that goes into making it. Betty’s spaghetti sauce is for me the most familiar comfort food I can think of. I reckon I ate Betty’s spaghetti sauce at least 18 times in 2022! Maybe more! I love this dish because it reminds me of Betty and it always will. Even if mine is a slightly improved version – just don’t tell Betty I said that!