Gawd…all I could think of was heading to the pub, The Fussy Eater in tow, and getting a pint (okay, a half pint) of Guinness and tucking into a lovely steak-and-Guinness (and mushroom) pie with chunky chips and gravy and finishing it with a molten chocolate cake (which, unfortunately, is unavailable at my pub of choice so I must sacrifice myself to their absolutely wonderful whiskey bread pudding).
That’s all I could think of for the past 11 days…11 days of work issues and school issues and home issues and not-home issues and well…stress. Food—the right food makes things good…Comfort food makes problems and stresses go away.
Which isn’t that surprising.
A couple of years ago, UCSF researchers released a report stating that comfort food stops stress. Researchers figured out that after subjecting rats to chronic stress, there’s a “flood of hormonal signalling from the hypothalamus to the adrenal glands” which made the little furry things seek out things that made them happy…including gobbling high energy foods (sucrose and lard), which I’m inferring from the article, was the rat-equivalent of comfort food (and I suppose mine..and a lot of other people's). The additional abdominal fat gained helped negate the effects of chronic stress. And this, of course ties into binge eating during weight loss regimes (dieting *is* stressful).
Can anyone say “fat and happy?”
Various surveys and studies have tracked favourite comforting noshes. According to a Psychology Today article, men preferred things like meat and pizza, while women wanted sweets like chocolate; both sexes shared a love of ice cream. The article itself tried to link foods to men liking “macho” food and women liking frilly-frou-frou foods (yeah, right… watch my MAC Diva-pink lips wrap themselves around the tines that spear a hunk of steak). Bah. BBC Two found Britons craving a whole host of foods including chocolate, tea, toast, ice cream, sausage and mash, soup and various puddings.
Me? What do I want when I’m stressed? Well, any combination of the above-mentioned meal, vanilla pudding, chocolate pudding, tea, mashed potatoes and kiwi cheesecake...luscious, velvety kiwi cheesecake…because well, kiwi cheesecake solves the world’s problems.