Comfort Food #1

I've said it before, and I don't think I will hurt her feelings or surprise anyone when I say that my mom wasn't an adventurous cook.  She will freely admit that she doesn't enjoy cooking and that's fine.  I wouldn't say that I enjoy cooking either so the apple doesn't fall far.........  However, although my mom wasn't very adventurous, a few things she did make, she made well!  And you will hear about several of those over the next couple days.

I have mentioned many times before that I was blessed to have had an almost idyllic childhood.  It was perfect in almost every way.  One reason it was perfect (to me) is that it was predictable--and predictable is very good for my "oldest-child, people-pleasing, Type-AAAA" personality.   Certain things in the Lenhart household never, ever changed--and when I say never, I mean never.  Daddy got up every day and went to work at Graco (yes, as in the children's products), wearing a tie and carrying a brown paper lunch bag, containing a sandwich with one--and only one--piece of lunchmeat and one piece of white American cheese, sliced thin.  Mom went to the grocery store (or actually three grocery stores), armed with her coupon box that Mr. Friedman designed just for that purpose, every Friday night.  We never (and again I mean never) ate out at a restaurant.  We never turned the heat above 65.  It didn't matter if it was 65 degrees BELOW zero out; the heat was never higher than 65.  We never made a peep--we didn't even breathe loudly--if the Oklahoma Sooners were losing the football game.  And......last but not least.......we had Chef Boyardee pizza from a box every. single. Wednesday. night. before we piled into the Bonneville station wagon (otherwise known as the "Big Car") and drove the 2.1 miles to church.

And that memory of those yummy pizzas every Wednesday night is why Chef Boyardee pizza from a box is my first "comfort" food.  Mom always made two pizzas--a square one and round one.  They had veerryy thin crusts and, of course, they were only cheese pizzas because, remember, we weren't "adventurous" at the Lenharts, and pepperoni would have put us awfully close to that "adventurous" edge of the cliff.  We couldn't have that!  I remember walking through the kitchen while mom was making the pizzas and taking a chunk of mozzarella cheese and dipping into the yummy sauce from the pizza kit and sneaking a taste.  It was soo good!  And the smell of those pizzas cooking was to die for!!

When I think of Chef Boyardee pizza,  I remember our little kitchen with green appliances and walnut cabinets and an avocado rotary phone, complete with a party line.  I think of how we probably inhaled it most Wednesdays because we had to get to church on time.  And I remember where every single one of us sat around the table as we ate that pizza-our assigned seats for twenty years.  All of those memories make me "comfortable", which is why that pizza is a "comfort food" for me.  Those list makers can have their chili and baked beans and, heaven forbid, shepherd's pie.  I'll take Chef Boyardee any day of the week (but Wednesdays are my day of choice!).

We recently had our very own Chef Boyardee pizza (but we added pepperoni because we're "adventurous" like that around here).  It's not Jeff's favorite, but he indulges me because I love it and it makes me happy.  And I hope that someday, something I have made will make my kids as happy as that silly Chef Boyardee pizza still makes me!

P.S.  Dear Mom, On the off-chance (ahem) that any of my recall is incorrect, don't tell me.  Ignorance is obviously bliss!!


Neecykay said...

I am loving your comfort food posts. I'd love to live where there was snow all the time (and where I didn't have to listen to people complain about it) and would enjoy eating Chef Boyardee pizza once a week. My mother used to make it too. I think we even had pepperoni on ours. I should not have read this post so late, now I'll probably lie awake thinking about what my comfort foods are. Glad you're back posting, I love reading your blog!

Tamera said...

now you've made me homesick. sigh.

Anonymous said...

Jen, That is exactly how I remember it. Can't wait to hear what the other comfort foods are. I'm guessing Hershey Nuggets. :~)


Anonymous said...

You make me laugh, Jen. The other thing I remember eating religiously, every week was cheese steak sandwiches. So good. But NOT with SteakUm, had to be Landis CHipped STeak. (that's for you, Adam). Your memories seem pretty good to me. I still abhor cooking. Glad I get to go out a LOT more often, and I am so thankful for the prepared foods section of the grocery store.

Lisa said...

The Chef's pizza sauce is still my favorite sauce in the world! We always added browned hamburger, which is a staple in pizzarias in Southern Illinois.
Lisa :)