Opinion: Dig in for comfort

Commentary by Terry Anker

What is it about macaroni and cheese? While handy smartphone applications designed to track our intake of calories will warn that the creamy pasta dish can push to our daily limits in a single serving, it still makes our dietary “cheat” list. Whether it is this one or some other so-called comfort food, we all crave, well, comfort.  Certainly, the simple sugars and fat content fill our bellies. But isn’t its appeal more than an intentional nap inducement? It is a reminder of simpler times and fond memories of meals long-passed.

Whatever the root of our fascination, we seek the consistent redundancy of the familiar reassurance to calm when our lives overwhelm. As such, books, films, vacation spots and even favorite pants can serve a similar function. We inveterate channel surfers will pause for a re-run of a long-cancelled sitcom to be reminded of an episode that we’ve already enjoyed a dozen times before. Some will watch a movie so often that the script can be recited in its entirety from memory. We know the plot – twists, turns and all. Yet, we hang on each scene anxiously awaiting the delivery of the next line. In a confusing and complicated world, it brings a long-sought sense of order. Does a false sense of omnipotence give us a false sense of control? Or, are we justifiably eager to pursue a venue to satisfaction that we know will consummate? With so many promises unfulfilled, are we right to seek the proven and shun the unknown?

Long days and short nights can wear us down. We work to make our way in a world that seems increasingly unfamiliar and unsettled. Change is at our doorstep and cannot be kept at bay. Some, we embrace. Too much can overwhelm. If a bit of comfort helps us cope, let’s dig in.