Comfort Food: Food prepared in a traditional style having a usually nostalgic or sentimental appeal. - Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary
"Comfort food provides individuals with a sense of security during troubling times by evoking emotions associated with safer and happier times." - Encyclopedia.com
While searching the cupboards for something for dinner tonight, I was surprised to find a new box of cereal that my mother had recently purchased for me as part of her "Feed the Poor" program. The cereal is called Crispix. It is, perhaps, Kellogg’s greatest triumph. On the bright, blue box, the cereal is described as, “crispy rice on one side, crunchy corn on the other”. Toss some into a bowl, add milk and a dash of sugar and you have yourself a tasty treat.
The moment my eyes saw that box of cereal, a wave of peace and comfort came over my body and a smile spread across my face. It was the first time ever, perhaps, that a cheap box of food had made me feel so completely happy. During the same moment that I was so peaceful and smiling so goofily in my kitchen, my mind raced with images - images I had forgotten of my sister and I getting ready for school each morning: lumbering out of our bunk beds, dizzy with sleep, sharing the same bathroom with my long-suffering mother, searching our small house for any inch of privacy that might exist and always ending up in the kitchen hurrying through our bowls of soggy cereal so that we could catch the #7 bus at 7:35 a.m. Our cereals of choice were usually Crispix, Cheerios or Rice Krispies (my mother - the health nut). Somewhere down the line, we ditched those cereals for sweeter ones like Fruit Loops, Lucky Charms or Cocoa Puffs. And at that point, I never saw another box of Crispix again... until tonight.
Yes, this is a blog about cereal. It is truly a love of mine. But more importantly, I revisited some cherished memories tonight that I thought I had forgotten. It is amazing how the mind works and how complex we all are. The very image of a simple blue box of cereal can conjure up the warmest feelings an individual could ever have. The days when things were not so rushed and stressful. The days when everyone was a friend and the word "enemy" did not exist. The days when grandma and grandpa were always around. The days when your family was functional - or at least you thought they were. Each day held a simple routine - with simple questions, simple answers and simple treasures. Those were the "good, old days" that are long gone and maybe even lost, until you stumble across your own, personal comfort food.
You must be aware that I had the most special dinner in years tonight. Yes, I enjoyed a cold bowl of Crispix, milk and memories. At the end of it, I called my sister to share with her my delight and to see if she remembered things the way I did. To my surprise, she informed me that, inside of her pantry, she also had a box of comforting Crispix just waiting to be opened.