Comforting favourites

in #steempress10 months ago (edited)

This blog is all about my favourites. Mostly. I do write sometimes about the things that weigh, but mostly, it's about things, people, stuff I love and which make me content.

I have difficulty separating comfort food from favourite food. I love food, and cooking and my kitchen (actually, any kitchen) is one of my most favourite places in the whole world. I'll find my way around any kitchen and cook. When I travelled to Johannesburg on business, I'd sometimes often stay with one of my dearest friends. One day, her then partner commented that they were running late and that someone had to see to the supper. Quick as a flash, her reposte:

Oh, I'm sure Fiona's already doing something about it.

She was right.

So, technically, what is the difference between comfort and favourite? Beside the fact that one is a noun and the other an adjective:

Comfort - [a] state of physical ease and freedom from pain or constraint

- things that contribute to physical ease and well-being.


  • preferred to all others of the same kind

I have some favourites that are not connected to food: my favourite animal (cat - unless you hadn't guessed). Favourite human - The Husband. Favourite rugby team: the Springboks. Now, food, well that's another matter, and for me, in many respects, the two are intertwined. Comfort is all about well-being and contentment, and food is associated with the most ancient of our senses: smell. Without a sense of smell, we can't taste. I cannot conceive of a world in which I will never taste again. I have had some experience of that.

Going on twenty years ago, I went on a business trip to Japan. The timing was less than optimal because it coincided with moving house - the first home that The Husband and made together. It was also about six months after the my father's death; my mother had died eleven months before that. Oh, and although neither had anything to do with the break-up of the other's previous marriages, we were both going through divorces. That was just for starters. As the year progressed, the company I'd invested in, and where I was working, went belly-up, The Husband retired; we got engaged. Look at that list and Google the things that cause the most stress in one's life...

I returned from Japan (nearly 48 hours' travelling with no sleep), having spent five days staffing a stand at a trade show, with a twisted ankle and a really bad cold. The ankle healed, cold went, but the streaming nose and eyes didn't stop, and with those streams went my sense of taste. Well, mostly. It came and went - largely associated with the extent to which my nose was blocked. That could be triggered by anything from a glass of Chardonnay and cooking a pot of fragrant rice, to nothing of any consequence. This is one of the reasons for my preference for Sauvignon blanc.

It's the only time in my life that the kitchen wasn't a happy place and I didn't enjoy cooking. I was never sure how a meal would turn out. The Husband still tells the story of our going out for supper one evening (when I returned from yet another business trip), and I chose the least expensive thing on the menu: a soy burger. He was appalled. My response:

"I can taste nothing. What's the point of paying a lot of money on something I can't taste?"

The Husband still tells me I've never produced a meal that was not both edible and delicious. Even then. I guess he's biased, but I'll take it.

What I could taste, though, was salt and sour, so salt and vinegar chips, or crisps as they're known elsewhere, became my go-to comfort food. There was a vendor who came to the office daily. I'd make a daily purchase. Only salt and vinegar. Nothing else. No salt and vinegar. No crisps.

We ultimately discovered that it was the house: it was damp and full of mould. We moved eleven months later and within a week, the symptoms were gone.

I could breathe.

I could taste.

Everything. All. The. Time.

I still enjoy salt and vinegar chips but eat them less frequently now. Actually, I can't remember when I last had a bag.


Now, my comfort foods are determined by taste and flavour - and have history - of course! The foods are tied into two of my favourite ingredients: eggs and tomatoes. Regular readers and watchers of my Instagram account will know this. Eggs routinely feature - and not just for breakfast.

I'll eat eggs any which way. For breakfast, lunch, dinner and tea.

Of course, my most favourite way to eat eggs is scrambled. I wrote a bit about that here.

Growing up, an annual crop was tomatoes. They are not essential to every meal, but if you're at a loss as to what to cook, and short of other ingredients, the trusty tomato is an essential standby. She has stood me in good stead. Often. When I've suddenly had to produce a meal. Some might say that a meal without a tomato is like kissing a man without a moustache. Or eating beef without mustard. As I've "grown up", I'm not sure about either, and am certain it's a matter of taste. That said, we do eat a lot of tomatoes. Raw and cooked.

As with eggs, I'll eat them for breakfast, lunch, dinner and tea. When we have a good crop, this is a common exchange:

Me to The Husband, "What would you like for dinner?"

Him, "What are you thinking?"

Me, "You can have anything you like as long as it's with tomatoes..."

Combine tomatoes with eggs, and I'm even happier. Poaching eggs in tomatoes? Great, comforting supper on a cold night. A shakshouka is my idea of heaven.

A cheat's Shakshouka - not quite as spicy and with just what was available.

As is homemade cottage pie.

Cottage pie infused with red wine and rosemary, topped with butternut and potato. (Photo: Dennie Pasion who described it as "the best").

Then there is pasta

Pasta is both a food and a key ingredient. I make my own, but before I did, and when I lived alone, a pasta supper was a very easy throw-together. With tomatoes, of course. I confess, too, that there were times I happily ate pasta with grated cheese and tomato sauce (ketchup). I kid you not.

Pasta, now that I make it myself, is not the unhealthy thing of commercial pastas: one jumbo egg to a cup of flour is ample to feed the two of us. When we ate commercial pasta, we'd eat twice the quantity.

Pasta suppers - with and without tomato.

Most often, our pasta suppers are vegetarian affairs - usually with herbs, if not vegetables, from the garden.

My top three most comforting meals (foods)

Among the meals that bring me most comfort are a traditional roast and gravy - especially lamb with mint and onion sauces, followed by the dishes that I conjur up with the left over meat, vegetables and gravy. These are based on dishes my mother used to make and which I loved.

If, though, I have to narrow it down, and one must, to just three -

Third place: Creamy tomato pasta

Creamy tomato pasta - need I say more?

Second place: Fish, parsley sauce and peas

This meal gives the lie to my Scottish roots as it is very English. Blame it on the Sasenach genes I inherited from my mother. Fish, parsley sauce and peas.

An added bonus would be new potatoes, boiled with mint. Or chips.

Top spot: Tomato soup

The pièce de résistance, though, is tomato soup. It has always been a favourite and when I'm feeling poorly or when I can't do coffee (because two cups are the limit for my caffeine intolerance), I will have a cup of tomato soup. I confess.

My daily fix. In a blue and white mug. Of course.

In my mid-twenties, I had the worst dose of 'flu - and I do mean influenza - I had ever had in my life. I lived alone and the only thing that kept me alive going was tin after tin after tin of Heinz's tomato soup.

"Do you need anything, Fiona?"

"Tomato soup".

Not chicken soup. Not chocolate. Just tomato soup.

Fresh tomato soup.

Now I make my own tomato soup with fresh tomatoes. Add cream and you have cream of tomato.

Two last words:

As I was preparing this, I realised that other than the scrambled egg post, it hadn't entered my head to share my recipes for roast lamb with its trimmings, let alone the fish and parsley sauce and the tomato soup. Let me know if you'd like any of these, and I'll add them to my "to do" list.

And, secondly -

There is a bunch of great people on Steemit who run a monthly contest-cum-writing prompt. This is rambly my entry.

Until next time
The Sandbag House
McGregor, South Africa

Photo: Selma

Post Script

In addition to WordPress I blog on a number of platforms:

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I’ll trade you a Melomakarona for that salad!

Which salad? Oh, you mean the tomato one? It's a deal @dandays :D

This is the 77th comment on this article. 77, to put that in perspective, I just learned how to count to 100 last Wednesday.

Hahaha! Who's counting? I do words, not numbers..... ;)

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Oh my gosh! Thank you.

Yep, you've done it, you've made me hungry. Or at least hungrier. Definitely lunch time now.

I'm thrilled that someone other than me knows the term sassenach. :)

Lunch today is likely going to include tomato soup; it's a great choice for sure!

Hahaha! It's approaching supper time here. And, guess what? It's pasta!

Well as you gathered, my father married a sasenach. Constantly reminded her of that... I'm so glad I didn't have to explain it to everyone.

Tomato soup - enjoy it!

I was surprised your top spot was Tomato soup! Everything else look so delicious!! Well, porch egg is my favourite and the most difficult for me to make...

Hahaha! Yeah, well, I have chicken soup baggage. A story for another time, perhaps ☺

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This was, as they say, worth the wait! You definitely did not disappoint, and I feel I got one more level deeper into the heart of Fiona. Oh tomatoes, I could wax poetic about fresh-picked tomatoes all day. Funny as growing up I got about as far as ketchup or pizza/pasta sauce, but wouldn't touch a fresh one. On a hamburger or sandwich? I'd pull that sad floppy red thing right off. And that is why--I pretty much mostly experienced the grocery store version of tomatoes, not the gorgeous specimen that is garden grown! We're currently harvesting every last little green cherry tomato while we can before the plant completely wilts for the season, haha.

Pasta, oh that's another one that speaks to my soul. Though that is another realm I haven't entered yet, the realm of homemade that is, a basic bowl of plain noodles was probably the very first thing I learned to cook on my own. If all else failed, I would survive all carbed up and happy. To refer once again to my beloved grandmother, other than delicious pancakes, the only other edible item she made was a bowl of pasta. As children we were perfectly happy eating dinner of spaghetti with butter and Parmesan for dinner, and waking up to pancakes in the morning.

Truly heart-warming (and belly-warming) choices Fiona. We are honored to have you bring your best to our table!

You are very kind, Katie. I do enjoy the opportunity for the virtual breaking of bread that my writing/blog offers.

For me, unless you haven't guessed, food and memories - totally intertwined 🤐

I am so with you on the tasteless, soggy tomato and limp lettuce on a burger! There I will also ladle it with ketchup!

Home made pasta is really easy. Except I am not sure about a vegan one. I shall have to do some homework. The egg is a protein and binding element. And then working the dough to release the gluten does the same. A homemade vegan option must possible I am sure. I feel some homework developing.

Pasta, butter and parmesan: I could so eat that.

Relish in the last of those little 🍅 Ours are getting there...☺🥂

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Wonderful post @fionasfavourites! Some of my favourites here as well; I'd pick Cottage pie as my number one from your list, that's the one thing I enjoy most for a weeknight comforting meal;) Your other food looks delicious too, The Husband is not wrong would be my verdict!

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Hahaha! Thank you, Lizelle!

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Hi, @fionasfavourites!

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All that food looks delicious.

I'm happy I ate before clicking your topic because if I didn't I would be running to grab a bite to eat after looking at all that tasty looking food.

Thanks so much for stopping by. Sorry I made you hungry. Not 🤭

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Always enjoy your the personal nature of your posts. Thanks for sharing.

In Lak'ech, JaiChai

Thank you @jaichai - and for stopping by.

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Informative post as to why you enjoy some meals whether in good health or not Fiona.

All simple healthy dishes reflecting food does not have to be expensive, it is the care and attention in preparation given to each dish (except the cuppa soup) that leads to enjoyment.

Hahaha! - even the Cuppa Soup needs attention otherwise it ends up all lumpy...urgh!

And no, the meals don't have to be expensive to be healthy and wholesome!

These all look wonderful. You can’t beat tomato soup as one of the world’s best comfort foods!

Thank you, @jayna. I'm glad you agree. :D

Congratulations @fionasfavourites! This post was selected by the Power House Creatives as today's Rally Upvote Post :)

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An absolute epic post @fionasfavorites

So many gorgeous dishes in that blog. The hunger level just raised a few notches. I enjoyed the story the information from your past, too. Losing your taste, even temporarily, must be a tough thing to go through. My father had radiotherapy on his neck a few years ago and he lost his taste for a while. Thankfully, he got it back but I know he struggled with it.

Great choices in classic FF fashion! Good luck with the contest.


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Thank you @phctop3 and @cheese4ead and sorry (not) to have raised the hunger level! Your Dad has my empathy. Trust he's well now?

You and I have some similar food likes. I also love tomatoes and I really like scrambled eggs. I am having a taste issue currently though, which makes no sense.

If I buy ground beef and make burgers at home they're delicious and full of that great burger flavor. But as I've tested the burger joints recently, McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy's, etc., I find these burgers don't have much, if any, flavor!

The only commercial places where burgers still have some burger flavor, are Culver's and SteaknShake. It used to be that they all tasted like burgers, and I don't understand why they don't now. Other people say they haven't noticed a change. It's very perplexing!

I am sorry you're having a taste issue. It's the worst.

On the burgers: I think the international franchises use a lot of not meat meat and/or not beef beef - like chicken and then use flavouring. Or so I have heard. Not being in the US (which is where I think you are?), I don't recognise the other places you mention, but I will say this: there's only one local franchise where I'll consider eating a burger, and that's Steer's. Mostly, though, we choose independent eateries where the food is "real". Happily, there is not one franchise restaurant in our village!

Thanks for stopping by @free-reign!

Wow reading your post, I've gone from hungry to hungrier 😄😄 your photos perfectly show how tasty the dishes you've shared are 😋😋
!giphy yummy

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giphy is supported by witness untersatz!

Thansk so much for stopping by @iamraincrystal, and thanks for the compliment!


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Wow, nice post, I love comfort food and have it every day, but just lately I've been thinking that maybe I should have some of the healthy food instead, such as lettuce and salad and stuff, but when I go to make some I just can't face it...

Absolutely delicious. I admire anyone who can do what you do with ingredients, turn them into magical moments that last a lifetime.
In my culture we have developed tastes for certain foods. In the case of soups, we'd rather have a fish or chicken soup over any vegetable soups. I remember, though, I indulged myself once in a restaurant and asked for a tomato soup. It was quite an experience. I still remember that taste even though I have never again had tomato soup.
I'd love one day to try Fish, parsley sauce and peas. It looks delicious

@hlezama - I was thinking exactly this as I was considering this post (and competition). Our foods and our tastes are culturally defined - and by what we grow up with. People expect me to like chicken soup. I don't. There's a reason (and a story). Fish soup, like you and tomato soup, I've eaten only once. I'd eat it again. Would I make it? I'm not sure.

Here's a deal: when you visit South Africa, I'll make you tomato soup followed by fish, parsley sauce and peas. With chips or potatoes.

How does that sound?

Hahaha, That sounds wondeful!

Oh my, as missionaries working on tiny salaries we could only afford cheap accommodation through the years resulting in several encounters and health problems with mould. A terrible substance indeed!

Some great meals here as usual Lady Fiona!

Dreadful, mould. Truthfully, it's taken nearly 20 years to outgrow the allergies that developed. This year, so far, virtually no symptoms. Thanks for stopping by @papilloncharity

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I still have a strange skin allergy that not one dermatologist can diagnose Lady Fiona. Picked it up in 2012, little red severely itching hive type of things that flare up in the sun. Not eczema, pimples, psoriasis or any of the other things. Had allergy tests and found clean. The only thing that helps is Cortizone. Been taking Celestamine tablets and a cortizone cream daily ever since.
A real disturbing condition.

How awful. At least you can manage it. Good evening!

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Thank you!

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Thanks for sharing all these great meals

I’m glad I just had shambled eggs with jalapeños and red peppers diced in them for after seeing all these delicious foods I would be craving some of them.

You're welcome!

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Oh my word, I can't imagine losing my sense of taste @fionasfavourites! That would be horrible. I agree life in the kitchen is the best, especially creating tasty creations for those you love :) Mould, not good! Glad you figured it out quickly and moved. My daughter and her husband live in an area where mould is a big issue, its a constant battle with air conditioning and dehumidifiers a must. Again, your post is wonderful, so many chuckles and head nodding as I read your thoughts and admired your lovely photos. A great entry to the PHC contest, I certainly couldn't have said anything better! :)

Ah @birdsinparadise - I never want to not taste again! We only realised it was the house after we moved. Here's the thing: we were given notice because the owner wanted to move back in. Our original intention had been to buy it. Can you imagine? It's taken nearly twenty years to lose the allergic reaction that developed there. This year, so far (she touches wood), I've been virtually symptom free. Now, of course (spring) is the worst time. So, fingers crossed.

And thank you for stopping by, and for your kind words!

oh my goodness twenty years to lose the symptoms? That is terrifying! My daughter has suffered horribly from the mold and even when she visits here she is like a barometer...always aware if there is the slightest mold, she is affected. I am so for your agony, and to think you almost bought the house!!!!! Yikes!!!! Glad you're symptom free now, hopefully spring won't bring too many negative side affects ;) Blessings!

Health and delicious

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Thank you!

I skipped dinner and after reading your post, I'm really hungry.
Darn.. I only have instant noodles at home :(

Oh dear! Order in?

Beautiful selections @fionasfavourites and our kitchen is the happiest room in the house. 😋

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Thank you! The kitchen: the heart of the home ☺

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I learned a lesson. Never read a good blog without having Dinner I am hungry

Well, I hope your mouth feels better and that your dinner was delicious!

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OMG everything - YUM! And speaking of eggs, have you ever tried "eggs in a cloud"? I just discovered them and I'm doing a post later on how to prepare - super easy!

No, I haven't. Now I am very curious. Look forward to your post!

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Well, I knew it was going to be an epic and you didn't let me down! Loved the stories and really pleased to see salt and vinegar crisps got a well deserved mention. I'm glad you were able to harness their healing power and get you through the mold ridden days that stopped your sense of smell.

For me, life without being able to hear would be awful, I need to listen to the beats and music so without that, I'd be weeping!

As for the choices, I say tomato... Have to agree with the Tomato Soup, that really does hit the spot on a cold wintry day.

Good luck with the contest!

You are very kind @nickyhavey. The healing power of salt and vinegar crisps is not to be underestimated.

If you asked which of my senses I could live without, I'd be hard pressed. Not being hear birds, music, people's voices - I'd go nuts. Imagine not being able to see? We know folk who are deaf and going blind. Doesn't bear thinking about. And not having been able to taste... Well, let's just say, I have a greater appreciation for it.

PS So glad to have been able to maintain the standard.

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Thanks for sharing your experience with us!

You have been curated by @freedomtowrite on behalf of Inner Blocks: a community encouraging first hand content, with each individual living their best life, and being responsible for their own well being. #innerblocks Check it out at @innerblocks for the latest information and community updates, or to show your support via delegation.

Every dish of food you present looks too delicious and provocative, I'd like to eat them all.

Thank you so much!

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I am so hungry right now 😅 You're list is insanely tantalizing 😋 Time to whip up some tomato soup 👌😍💯👍

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Hahaha! Hope you enjoyed it!

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Tomatoes tomatoes and more tomato!!!! 🍅 soup was my childhood favorite. And I love everything about tomatoes. And pasta.... Oooooh pasta, the love of my life!!

Now I know why we are friends! 🤗

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🤗🤗🤗 absolutely!!

Well these may be your favourites and they are now mine too! Approaching noon is NOT a good time to read your posts BTW as now I am inspired to go eat too much.

Potatoes boiled with Mint? What a neat idea. I have mint in the garden and may try this!


Should I be sorry for whetting your appetite?

P'raps not.

On the potatoes with mint: it's preferable that they are small and freshly dug. Do try it. Highly recommended ☺

Nah I love food on the blockchain. Inspiring how many good cooks are here.

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You write the most beautiful blog posts. And your food looks always mouth-watering!! I wished you had a business trip to San Diego and stayed with me :)

Thank you @mariannewest. I find the right client, and I might surprise you!

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Awesome! Thanks for sending over your entry fee, just letting you know that I've added you in with your nominations now!

Good luck and keep your eyes peeled for the upcoming dpoll between 16th - 18th where we put it to the public vote and let the Steem community decide their top 3 :)


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