|make your stomach happy||.||
There's something deeply comforting about smushy foods. When I'm feeling the beginnings of a cold, or it's rainy and gray outside, or I'm sliding into a slight blue spell, I have a tendency to find myself craving foods that don't require much in the way of eating effort. Cinnamony apple sauce and brown sugar oatmeal, real refried beans and cheesy garlic polenta -- these are the kinds of foods that wrap around me like a security blanket, cozy and familiar and warm.
I once met a girl, at a summer camp for geeks back in my early teen years, who kept her snack stash stocked with piles of Gerber baby food. When everyone else I knew was hoarding Doritos and Kit Kats, the junk food our parents were always telling us not to eat when we were back home, she squirreled away tiny glass jars of pureed peach and apple and pear. It would have seemed odd, except we were all 12-year-old bookish misfits, and every one of us boasted our own personal brand of weird. Besides, after she grudgingly offered up some of her prized snacks to share, we had to admit: pear mush is kind of good.
These days, my smushy food cravings are generally a tad more sophisticated. Comfort foods, I'm happy to have discovered, don't have to be bland…like this yummy Indian-inspired spinach and potato dish, a sort of creamed spinach with a kick.
spiced spinach sauce (aloo saag)
1 lb. fresh spinach leaves,
washed well (or frozen if you must)
2 as main dish, 4-6 as a side
the spinach leaves well and drain. Toss them in a pot along with a 1/2
cup of water. Heat on high for a few minutes, stirring, until the water
starts to steam and the bottom leaves begin to wilt. Give it a good
stir, cover, lower heat, and cook for about 7 minutes, until just
tender. Drain (don't worry about getting out all the water.) Puree until
smooth in a blender or food processor.