Cold comfort

Paren24 Editor, Scott Dunlop
Paren24 Editor, Scott Dunlop
Am I the only one who wakes up too frozen to make the dash for the kitchen to put the kettle on? Sadly, the coffee won’t make itself. Neither will the supper, but there is something different about winter cooking. Winter foods are comfort foods. How many of you can remember your mom’s stews and soups, or her pies, casseroles and baked desserts? Do you ever wonder what your kids will remember as “mom’s special comfort food” when they’re all grown up?

Recipes are often part of the family tradition- Your mom got her recipe for chicken stew from her mom, and the way she made it is almost impossible to duplicate. If she’s not around anymore (or simply retired from cooking), you will be tempted to have that comfort food experience again by cooking that same dish, or finding someone who can.

Comfort food. You see, “butternut soup” doesn’t sound quite as special as “mom’s butternut soup”. The word “mom” isn’t an adjective, and yet it is full of descriptive imagery and even sensations. The smells of a kitchen can take you back to childhood; a single taste can conjure up memories from decades ago.

And all of those hours YOU spend at the supermarket, the fridge, the stove and the sink are so much more than wasted or squandered. Each time you stir a pot, burn your fingers on a casserole dish or scrape cuttings into the compost, you’re participating in an awesome feast of memory-making.

Mac and cheese. If you Google it, you’ll find over 8 million results, and yet not one of those recipes will taste the way your mom made it. Is it the extra pinch of salt (or just the way she’d throw spilt salt over her shoulder) which makes the difference, or is it just her... “momness” in the way she cooked?

One day, your kids will be sitting around tables of their own, as adults, tasting a bowl of soup and saying, “Mmmm- this is almost as good as the one mom used to make”. The comfort food tradition will continue, and you’re privileged to play a part in it.

P.S. Dads - I’m including you in this- many of you are the household chefs - but honouring moms especially as part of our Awesome Mommies Month.

Does your family have a special recipe which you all call your comfort food? Why not share it and you could win a R250 voucher like Minette Maré for her letter last week called The hidden pain of parenting. Send your letter to

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