Chef Marcus Samuelsson’s Red Rooster* restaurant in New York City has an interesting racial and ethnic variety both in patrons and menu. It serves some African food, some traditional New York food, his grandmother’s Swedish meatball recipe, traditional Harlem food, a little bit of Jamaican, a little bit of Mexican, a little bit of Scandinavian, and also some comfort food. It seems to me that Red Rooster is the face of New York City.
*see 09/02/2018 post Marcus Sameulsson
Comfort food is any kind of food that gives us emotional comfort when we eat it. Many times, comfort food is something that we associate with childhood, and its sentimental appeal sooths our negative feelings. But not everybody had a mother who was a great cook. Marcus Samuelsson didn’t. Generally speaking, we want comfort food when we are stressed, worried or sad. Comfort food is usually high in calories, often contains a lot of carbohydrates, and a lot of it requires little chewing. Comfort foods are generally not considered healthy eating choices. As a matter of fact, doctors warn us not to self-medicate with comfort foods. Nevertheless, we see many versions of comfort food on American menus, and here is an exercise to familiarize you with their names.
All of the food pictured below is considered comfort food, and some of them are found on the
Red Rooster menu. See if you can match them to their descriptions.
Which one is:
a Creole dish of meat, seafood, sausage & vegetables mixed with rice
a hot, toasted sandwich made of cheese & buttered slices of bread, served hot (grilled=toasted or broiled)
a porridge-like dish made from coarse corn meal, typical of Southern USA
4. a sandwich made of bacon, lettuce & tomato
a thick, milk-based soup made of fish, seafood, or corn
aka Cottage Pie; a baked dish of ground meat topped with mashed potatoes
cake-textured bread made from cornmeal, also called Indian bread
coated with bread crumbs & fried
deep-fried chicken wings coated with a spicy sauce
dough cooked by steaming, often on top of a meat stew
finely chopped meat & potatoes, sautéed
ground meat baked in a loaf shape
meat that has been slow-cooked until it can be parted with fingers
one-dish meal of pasta baked in oven with a lot of cheese
sauce made from thickened juices of meat, usually milk-based
slow-cooked dish of meat & vegetables served with its own thick gravy
steak coated with batter, fried & served with gravy
thick stew of chicken or seafood, made with greens & okra
This part of the blog will be dedicated to things we can chew on, or interesting facts about food we might like to digest. A lot of us know that to chew means to crush food in our mouths with our teeth so that it can be swallowed. But did you know that it also means to think something over, or sometimes to ponder a question or a problem? And to digest means to break food down in the alimentary canal so that your body can absorb it. Again, you probably already know that. But to digest can also mean to organize new information in your mind so as to absorb it mentally or to assimilate it. We can explore all four meanings here, with food and all things related to food.
I was born near the end of WWII and raised in a small town in New Jersey, just a little more than a 30-minute drive from NYC. It was a wonderful place to be brought up, feeding ducks and canoeing on the river that meandered through the town in the summer, and ice-skating on that same river in the winter.
My two brothers and I were privileged to be raised in a lovely town that was safe to explore on foot, but close enough to NYC to be taken there on day trips to see the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Baily B & B circus, museums, Chinatown, street fairs in the spring and Broadway shows as we grew older. But we thought nothing of it.
Later as teens, we would go into NYC to buy a couple of beers (the drinking age in New York State was 18, and 21 in New Jersey) and hang out in Greenwich Village where we saw singers such as Bob Dylan who were on the first rung of the ladder on their way to fame.
The sixties were a time of speaking out and creating change. I decided to do my part by joining the Peace Corps, an innovative cold war program established by John F. Kennedy in 1961. I arrived in Brazil at the end of 1966, and after an adaptation period, was sent to serve in Porto Nacional, in what was Goias at that time. I can’t say I changed the course of the country, especially as I was immediately called upon to teach English in the local high school.
I have been teaching ever since; high schools, college literature, college language pedagogy, financial English and everything in-between. I married a wonderful Brazilian from Rio and we had 3 boys and moved around some, as he was an engineer who worked on hydro dams. Nowadays I am a widow and live in BH with 3 cats, one of which has extraordinary powers, and I have 4 wonderful and uniquely different grandchildren nearby. Thus far, I have had an interesting life, and this new endeavor called a blog should make it even more interesting.