Have you ever seen a listing on Yelp or other restaurant ratings site mentioning that the establishment serves “comfort food?” You immediately have an idea of what you’re getting into, right? Meals that are yummy, loaded with calories, and never eaten by fitness models and marathon runners. Things like mashed potatoes, fried chicken, and pie!
I think Yelp should have another category: Discomfort Food.
Discomfort Food comes in three categories. Foods that disagree with you but you still eat. Foods that disagree with you that you refuse to eat. And foods that have ridiculously pretentious descriptions that you’re scared to eat.
There was a Thai restaurant on the north side of Indianapolis when I worked downtown. The food was fabulous, but I always had what we will call an “urgent trip” to the bathroom afterward. This urgent trip usually came about 20 minutes after paying the bill, which is about the length of time to get back to the office from the restaurant. Thankfully, there was a restroom right by the front door to the office. Now, you would think that I would stop eating at that restaurant after the first or second time this happened. But it was REALLY good Thai food.
But, I do have my limits. For me, sushi is a discomfort food that’s off my list. The last time I ate it, I got violently ill —massive headache and State Fair Prize for Distance winning food launches. My wife is convinced there was “something else” going on. But I’m not taking any chances.
For her, guacamole is discomfort food. She has an avocado allergy. On the rare occasion that it finds its way into something she has eaten, the results are not pretty. I won’t go into details, but if you’re old enough to remember The Exorcist, then you know what I mean.
(Side note: The Exorcist would have been a lot funnier if the family had a snarky maid who had to clean up after all that nonsense. And that should give you some insight into my brain. When I watch horror films—not often—I’m thinking about how they could be turned into comedies. Nobody likes to watch horror films with me.)
Then we have food with pretentious descriptions. You’ve seen these on the menu. An example would be:
Starters: Artisan grown quinoa, served by an aspiring documentary filmmaker or hand-harvested kale topped with pickled squash aioli.
Pan-seared tuna, topped with an apricot demi-glaze while a mature Ficus observed over the chef’s shoulder. Served with gently fondled plantains, rainbow chard, and a gluten-free stottie.
Kiwi & Beet Juice Gelato
You’re not sure whether to order or slap the guy who wrote the menu. I think all pretentious food goes in the discomfort food category. If I have discomfort reading the description, I’m pretty sure I’m not going to enjoy the chewing and swallowing that comes later.
I wasn’t planning on running a marathon this week (or this century), so I’ll be sticking with the comfort foods. What’s your favorite comfort (or discomfort) food?
Carry on, Citizens!