The Comfort Of Comfort Food


An Orange Julius stall outside Liat Towers, Or...My old friend, Steve, told me that lately he was enjoying ice cream floats as we used to call them. Since then I have been obsessed at the thought of making one. I made one tonight but it was so disappointing. What happened?  I added vanilla ice cream to Diet Vanilla Coke. Maybe it was the substitution of the Diet Coke compared to the “real thing?”  It was nothing special, it fizzed a little and I drank it, but it held no nostalgia and no particular special taste.

I miss Orange Julius. Does anyone remember them? I used to look forward to buying a large Orange Julius when I was a teenager,  there was a stand in practically every mall. They were an icon, a bit of American History. Where did they go? Are there any stores left? I think it may be that if I drank one today I would not enjoy the taste as much as I did years ago. ( Who am I kidding?)  I remember them being sold in the city along with grilled hot dogs, the smell of the hot dogs blending with the sweet smell of Orange Julius. Those are some memories that last a lifetime.

I guess I could try to make one, orange juice, vanilla ice cream,? A melted creamsicle? I don’t know but it wouldn’t be the same as hearing the whirl of the blender and seeing the huge cup it came in with the plastic straw sticking out. I miss my youth, mostly the food. Nah, I miss my youth too sometimes.

Today, I heard a commercial for some chain store selling frozen hot chocolate. “Wow, I thought, how the mighty have fallen.” The frozen hot chocolate was a very special drink made many years ago in a lovely albeit expensive restaurant in New York City called Serendipity. I’d be surprised if they hadn’t patented that name, (a word to the wise Serendipity: check it out). This enormous, delightful drink was shared by my best friend and I for many years. It was our signature place before it was well-known, expensive and crowded.

Frozen hot chocolate at Serendipity

Frozen hot chocolate at Serendipity (Photo credit: Betty B)

When I moved to Boston many years ago,  my friend, Denise, set up her camera outside of Serendipity, had a table covered with a tablecloth and ordered a frozen hot chocolate; she took a photo of it and put it in a frame for my birthday. It was one of the most thoughtful birthday presents I have ever received. I still have it.

We don’t go there anymore, haven’t been for years. We don’t even see each other and our friendship has changed dramatically but I will always cherish that picture, that span of years when we treated ourselves to Serendipity and giggled continuously while munching on our over-sized chicken salad sandwiches on toasted buttery raisin bread. The last time I saw a photo of Serendipity (I think there are two or three locations now) Suri Cruise goes there frequently ( from the magazines.) I’m not sure I would want to go back anymore. We loved it when it was quiet, unknown and quirky.

I associate good times with food, but when things are down or bad I really can’t eat. Food repulses me. The only thing I can eat when I am very nervous or upset are my comfort foods, either an American cheese sandwich (on mushy bread with butter) and a Yoo Hoo or scrambled eggs, toast, butter and jam. No exceptions except in the winter for home-made chicken soup.

Lately, I’ve had a lot of comfort food and that’s alright. In addition there’s  pizza, which to me is comfort food on any day. Any season.

If it makes you happy, eat what you want in moderation and with respect to dietary restrictions. Even so, once in a while, have a bite of chocolate if you really want it. Just don’t have the bar. Live. Be as happy as you can be. Every single day. Be grateful for what you do have not what you don’t.

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2 thoughts on “The Comfort Of Comfort Food

  1. I love when you write about food. And you write about it with such joy and reverence! I spent today in the kitchen cooking. Blanching garden green beans and freezing them. (Hoping to save them for the Thanksgiving meal.) Making zucchini bread with one picked yesterday. And creating an outrageous salad with the bounty from a friend’s CSA. Last night I made an eggplant and zucchini “lasagne” for supper with homegrown delights as well. Last night’s dessert was homemade banana chocolate chip muffins made with semi-sweet And white chocolate chips with a bit of chocolate chip ice cream on top. 🙂

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