You grow up eating certain things. Often, these dishes become your Comfort Food when you are older. I don't know if every culture has a phrase that equates to Comfort Food, or at least share some sort of archetypal understanding of it. It does seem like something that only Western cultures would think of. Food is so much a part of the luxurious lifestyle in the West that we can afford to have even the idea of comfort, let alone associate it with something as basic as food.
For my second week at school, I made a meatloaf to last Josh and I for several days, and I made vegatables to accompany it. The peas portion is a joke, really. We had large salads with peas in it, but I thought I could conjure some Americana by putting a tiny bit of green on the plate with the huge servings of meat and potatoes. Meatloaf is definitely comfort - my mother made it and it was good, I recall. I have my own version, which I like very much, especially with a little extra sauce americaine, i.e. ketchup with sugar, vinegar, and hot sauce, thickened a bit in a saucepan. And white potatoes are pure vice - done up with onion powder, garlic powder, sliced gralic, and thyme. It's nice to come home to something meaty and sweet - something you don't have to spend a lot of time making, but rather just heat up.
The week before meatloaf week, I got my first organics home delivery. The produce is gorgeous and seems to always include greens. I sauteed some kale for my mom, who was here watching Sam. I may have shared the recipe with you before - it's my simple saute that I usually do with spinach in garlic, olive oil, pepper flakes, and golden raisins. You finish it with slivered almonds and sherry vinegar. It's good with spinach and fabulous with kale, I think.
The reason I bring this up is because my mother said that she liked it (thank goodness), and that she believed it was her first experince with kale! It is true that we never really ate greens other than salad growing up. And now I think Dad (the chef in the family) uses collards and chard sometimes, but certainly did not when I was a kid. Then I started thinking about all the things that I now consider part of my diet, like beets and greens and winter squashes, that I didn't grow up with. Mom asked me how I even found out that I liked kale. I didn't know. What makes us want to experiment? It might have been the TV!
Next on my experimentation list is kohlrabi. What in the world do you do with that thing?