Thursday, August 27, 2009

Comfort Food, '80s Stylie

Tonight was another use-up-the-leftovers night, and luckily I was reading inspiration in the form of Molly Wizenberg's A Homemade Life. You may remember me mentioning Molly's blog, Orangette, in a previous post (or two). She has many fans for good reason. Read an excerpt online and see if you don't want to read the whole book.

So I was reading her chapter on an ultimate '80s food, white chocolate, when it occurred to me that I had all the fixings for twice baked potatoes. I didn't take a photo of them since we all know what they look like, and if you don't you can just Google Image search them. They took us back to our teenage years with all their starchy, cheesy goodness.

There are other '80s foods that I care not to revisit, including the aforementioned white chocolate, unless it's in the form of Fresh Market's white chocolate-coated mix of nuts, pretzels, Chex cereal and something else salty and crunchy, which we've dubbed "crack" at our house due to its addictive qualities. I will not be heating up Jenos Pizza Rolls or Steak-umms anytime soon. Thinking of '80s foods, I can't help but remember Stouffer's frozen entrees, including their Lean Cuisine, which my friend Stacey's mom, Eileen, always had in abundance and shared freely with hungry teenagers. Stouffer's, now owned by Nestle, has their headquarters in Solon, Ohio, near where we lived and they had, and still have, an outlet store. You could stock up for much less than retail. Some favorites back then were the macaroni and cheese (eat the whole box and get 70% of your your recommended daily intake of saturated fat and sodium, and nearly half of your calories), lasagna, spinach souffle, Swedish meatballs and French bread pizza. The Swedish meatballs were even better if you added a little dollop of sour cream after heating. Mmm.

Of course, now I know that these mass produced convenience foods are not only bad for your diet, they're not so great for the environment, quality of life, or the local economy, either. I love that Slow Food USA's has started a sustainable school lunch inititiave called the Time for Lunch Campaign. This makes so much sense that you can't help but hope that it will succeed. Their National Day of Action is coming up on September 7th.

Perhaps I'll revisit the comfort foods of childhood theme later. For now, it's another hour of research before Project Runway.


  1. I read about Molly in Mother Earth News (my favorite magazine ever). Screw 80s food. It made me go slowly brain-dead, and by the time I hit puberty I was useless.

  2. Lydia: I'm about 2/3 of the way through Molly's book and have been making her recipes (and am slow roasting tomatoes right now) since cracking it open. I'm thinking of making a risotto out of her slow roasted tomato & basil pesto and dolloping it with goat cheese. Mmm. And I hear ya on the bad foods of our respective childhoods.