Understanding our need for comfort food can help us find the peace we seek in eating.
This beautiful essay is part of a Smithsonian Museum project on what it means to be an American. In it Gordon Edgar explores the history and meaning of Mac and Cheese – where it came from, what it means to our culture, and what the value is in comfort food, both personally and in relationship.
The one thing that does seem to unify people who eat macaroni and cheese is that everyone views it as “comfort food”: Whichever form of mac and cheese people grew up with, it provides them with something visceral that they want to recreate as adults. In my experience selling food, I’ve seen many folks who eschew one of the major components of the dish, due to allergies or politics, yet expend great effort trying to find or create gluten-free or vegan simulacra. It’s just that important to them.
Gordon is also the author of Cheddar: A Journey to the Heart of America’s Most Iconic Cheese.