I currently work in a restaurant whose menu features comfort food. Though I’ve been working there for a month now, I never really thought about “comfort food” until today. It was a busy lunch, but amidst the rush, I stopped and looked around. The restaurant was packed with happy people eating BLTs and burgers topped with Swiss cheese and bacon. Some were even slurping up big spoonfuls of tomato soup in 90-degree weather. Apparently everyone needs comfort, even on a hot day.
I started thinking of what comforts me and one scene kept playing in my head. I imagined myself as a child, sitting at the table with my family on a Sunday afternoon, the tangy smell of tomatoes lingering in the air. By the time I stepped on the bus to go home, I knew that I had to make a large pot of Marinara sauce.
Though it is most commonly used to top off pasta dishes, the sauce can do so much more. A vegetarian stock of sorts, this slightly sweet, slightly acidic superstar instantly makes any dish better. It is a great base for minestrone or lentil soup, can spruce up a veal dish or add kick to baked cod. It is the staple of my kitchen, but sometimes, I like it just as is. In fact, I can’t think of anything more comforting than dipping a ladle into the still bubbling pot, scooping myself a heaping bowlful and eating it standing by the stove in my flip-flops on a hot day.