By Kevin Williams
People seek comfort in a pandemic and often that comfort is found in food. For me, nostalgia is the key ingredient. Man, when I think back for pure comfort, I think of "TV Dinners." TV Dinners named "Hungry Man"...seems like a sexist name for a meal, in retrospect and it's hard to believe how central the TV was back then to food...TV dinners served on TV trays. We didn't do that a lot in our house. I'm more thinking of a friend's house we would visit and their TV trays. And we didn't do the TV dinners at our own house a lot, but we did them at my Grandma's. She was a great cook in her own right, but when she wasn't in the mood, out came the TV dinners....Fried chicken, the grainy mashed potatoes, a vegetable that I'd never touch and then that little cobbler-like dessert...Ahhhhh...
Okay, so if I had to go through my Amish archives and choose the 5 most comforting recipes, here's what I'd come up with:
ONE KETTLE SOUP: This dish is one that the original Amish Cook made all the time and I am so glad I got one photo of it, the only photo I have (which is more than I have of, say, my grandmother's spaghetti...I just wasn't in the habit of whipping out my camera and taking food photos back then)....anyway, look at the photo of the soup, stuffed with potatoes, meat, noodles, just perfect...click here for the recipe.
BAKED CHICKEN POT PIE: I have not had one of these in years, but my Dad would often fix these for us if Mom was working....frozen, Swanson pot pies, you just stuck in the oven....they'd come out steaming hot, like 3rd-degree-burns-if-you-ate-it hot, so he'd vent the pie, and we'd wait. And wait. And wait, until it cooled...you can make your own non-Swanson version here.
HOMEMADE CHILI SOUP: Delicious and comforting. I loved when my Grandma would make chili, it'd be simmering on the oven all day and she'd get it just right. You can do it with this recipe.
SLOPPY JOES: This is another comforting one from my childhood. My Mom would buy Manwich (geez, another gender-oriented food name) and, wow, yeah, I LOVED Manwich night. She'd buy the canned kind, mix it in with some hamburger and, presto, you'd have supper. I'd split a bun in two and spoon a pile of it on each side. So many memories with Manwich. Click here to make your own.
REBECCA STOLL'S POT ROAST MEATLOAF: Not a childhood favorite, but it combines two of my childhood favorites that Mom would make: meatloaf and pot roast. So why not combine the best of both...check out this pot roast meatloaf from an Amish settlement in Indiana. Click here.