I make a killer spaghetti sauce with hamburger, sauteed onions, green peppers, mushrooms, black olives, a touch of brown sugar, a splash of red wine, a little Worcestershire sauce and a good sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. Just add a salad, some garlic bread and a glass of the red wine and dinner is served.

But lately, as depression and anxiety overwhelmed me this past winter, I started eating comfort food from my childhood and one of those was Chef Boy Ar Dee Spaghetti and Meatballs. It has taken me back to my mom’s nice warm kitchen where I felt fairly safe, although events in my life would make me realize that no place is really safe.

But for now it was. I can open the can and nuke it for 2 minutes until it’s bubbly, eat it with a piece of bread and butter (another comfort food from my childhood) on the side, and once again feel safe and warm.

Yes, I know, probably not the healthiest food choice in the world, but if you look hard enough, you can find something “unhealthy” with just about any food choice you make. And there is more to eating than just calories. Food is about memories, about connecting to others, and emotions. If eating was just about the amount of calories you intake, you could eat the same thing every day. Thankfully, it’s much more than that.

So I will enjoy my spaghetti dishes, no matter which one I select, since my enjoyment is more than just taste and color and smell, it’s feelings and needs and that all important connection, in this case, to my past. 

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