The concept of comfort food varies from person to person, as everyone seeks solace in different dishes. It can be a hearty lasagna Bolognese for one, while another may find comfort in a mushroom taco or a polenta with chickpeas. Personal experiences and emotions also play a role in determining what brings comfort. After losing her mother, the author found solace in dishes she enjoyed during her youth, while the recent passing of a close friend led her to reminisce about the foods they shared over their four-decade friendship.
When facing difficult times, some turn to cooking and exploring new recipes as a source of comfort. The author stumbled upon the book “Comfort & Joy” by Ravinder Bhogal, which offered numerous recipes she marked to try. One dish in particular amazed her: a chickpea, orzo, and kale soup inspired by the flavors of a classic pasta dish called cacio e pepe. As she prepared the soup, the broth transformed from ordinary to rich and glossy, providing a momentary escape from grief. The author reflects on how food can be a source of nostalgia and connection, and despite the pain of loss, she plans to continue cooking the soup as she grieves.
In the midst of grief, the author finds solace in cooking and sharing the comfort of food. She imagines whether her departed friend would have loved the soup as much as she did, wishing she could share the recipe with her. While the pain of loss lingers, the author plans to explore more recipes from Bhogal’s book, but for now, she finds comfort in the familiarity and warmth of the cacio e pepe soup. Cooking and enjoying this dish becomes a way for the author to process her grief, gradually transitioning from needing comfort to embracing joy once again.