One of the last times I took my children to Florida to visit their grandmother during spring break, she and I talked about our plans ahead of time. Mother wanted to know what to buy for them to eat. I said not to bother or worry, as I would shop and cook once we got there. She seemed anxious and a bit worried about this plan.

Immediately when the three of us got to West Palm Beach and settled in, I preceded to go to the local farmers market. There were the most gorgeous tomatoes: round, big, very red. We had not seen tomatoes like that since September and I bought at least a dozen. When we got back to my mother’s condo, I proceeded to make the most delicious bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwiches. My routine for the kids before each meal was to ask, “One or two?” and they knew that I meant bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwiches. Meanwhile my mother became more and more disgusted with my approach to fine dining. She did not realize how much pleasure one can get from the sun-ripened, delicious, comforting tomatoes of Florida in the middle of the winter.

Now we are in need of comfort foods again, and I have returned to making for lunch a big lettuce, tomato and bacon sandwich. My husband wants me to eliminate the bacon and make a lettuce and tomato sandwich, and I comply because I want him to be as comforted as I am in these troubling times.

What about macaroni and spaghetti is comforting? The whole pasta aisle in the grocery store is empty. Is it all the mothers know how to cook? Is it all the children will eat without complaining? I once sat next to an African American man at a Girl Scout dinner and he said, “I swear my children are Italian.” When I asked him what he meant, he replied that all they eat is spaghetti and pizza. We laughed and bemoaned our children’s diets.

Comfort foods are not to be ignored in these difficult times. I recommend bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwiches even if your mother doesn’t approve.

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