Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Mush

Packed the bags, packed on the miles and packed on the pounds. Now for the unpacking. Argh!

There is nothing better than comfort food. I find most food comforting. I love traveling and trying the fare of each location. In Key West, we dined under the trees on seafood and pasta. One of our favorite places was Babaloos. Each time I visit my sister, we head across the Keys for one reason and one reason only: Chicken livers.

Growing up on the farm, nothing on the chicken was wasted. The giblets were family delights. Chicken livers were the ultimate prize. June knew I would love Babaloos because it reminded her of Huston’s in Arcanum. A menu board boasted the daily fare as well as the numerous side dishes, a choice of two, from mashed potatoes to cottage cheese. Ah, yes, a reminder of home.

On our trip up from Key West to Virginia, we passed through grit’s country. Grits were something I discovered in earlier years traveling south. Love at first bite. However, nothing rivaled the breakfast side dish of good, ‘ol country mush. For some reason Bob Evans restaurants haven’t quite made it to Oregon….along with the mush. So mush was on my plate as often as I could find it. The best mush was found in Shipshewana, Indiana, where the Amish served it in true country fashion.

Comfort foods are aptly named. They are reminders of a simpler time, of farm hands working the fields, of Mom cooking over the old kettle and cast iron skillet. Oddly, I don’t bring home these dishes. Polenta could take the place of mush but isn’t quite the same. If I asked for chicken livers at the grocery, they would stare wide-eyed. No, comfort food is a place, a reminder of time.

Bob Evans has taken mush off the menu but still serves it. I sense that it may be on the way out. Chicken livers are certainly not good for healthy eating and most chickens hate relinquishing a good liver. So perhaps those will disappear as well. I am comforted that I could go to places that still remember and give me a glimpse back to a time of embracing comfort.

Mush. It’s more than a way to get sled dogs to move.

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