Just as music fans argue about genre classifications, foodies debate cuisines. And there is no cuisine more abstract than that which goes by the name “comfort food.” The phrase evokes mental images of mashed potatoes, broccoli cheddar soup, or sauerkraut if you’re a total psychopath.
But today I’m going to introduce a new theory to you: every single food ever created is a comfort food if you eat it whilst crying. And the harder you’re crying, the more that food becomes comfort.
I’ve tested this theory in the weeks and months since getting dumped by my almost-fiancé Tara. Once my appetite started coming back, I found that even uncooked ramen noodles provided me with a brief sense of relief from the suffocating pain. This held true for bits of pimento at the bottom of an expired olive jar, shots of low-fat Reddi Whip, and the crust around the mouth of an empty hot sauce bottle.
Merriam Webster defines the verb form of “comfort” as “to ease the grief or trouble of : CONSOLE.” Food, and its closely related cousin alcohol, have been the only things to console me in recent memory. There has been no consolation except via carbohydrates. No solace without sodium. No assuagement lacking a side of aioli.
Sure, there’s a nostalgic value in memories of your Grandma’s chicken noodle soup. I’m not saying these things aren’t comfort food. I’m saying that if you’re sobbing on the verge of dry-heaving in your car, that Crunchwrap Supreme is also comfort food.
Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to test my theory with a control i.e. a meal without weeping. If my relationship prior to Tara is any indication, I should be able to complete this step in about 2 years.
I’ve explained my findings to a few friends and family members who rejected it on the grounds that I’m “not doing well” or “acting unhealthfully” or “getting snot drip everywhere.” Well, maybe if they were more open-minded, Tara would still be in the picture.
Oh, God. Tara. Oh Tara. Why?
Excuse me while I test my theory on this stolen Slim Jim.