The Comfort of Food
Comfort food is a commonly used term to describe an entire genre of cooking that is so individually inspired that to try to categorize the food that makes a person feel comforted when the weather is cold and snowy, and sunlight is nowhere in sight is rather daunting. I tend to think that comfort foods are foods that remind us of childhood or young adult hood when we first started making our own foods to enjoy without mom and dad’s oversight. I think family recipes fall into the comfort food category yet, when asked what is your favorite comfort food, most people seem to answer the same: macaroni and cheese, lasagna, chicken pot pie, meatloaf, beef stew…you get the picture. Interestingly enough when one performs an internet search on the same question the answers come up the same. With so many cultural and regional influences that we all grew up with how could we all possibly be comforted by the same foods? I think that the rise of cooking shows and internet access has done more than allowed us access to a wealth of information; it has also influenced what we deem comforting whether we really find macaroni and cheese comforting or not, there it is at the top of everyone’s list. And what macaroni and cheese are we really talking about? My mom was an excellent cook and baker and I grew up with some pretty amazing food on the table, but if I were to find comfort in macaroni and cheese from my youth, it most certainly would have come in a blue box and not be made with 4 different cheeses and an herbed bread crumb topping. Did anyone really grow up with bacon and roasted pumpkin 3 cheese macaroni and cheese?
I find that when I ask myself the same question, the answers are much different. I am extremely comforted by coffee, the smell of it brewing and the hot scalding liquid running down my throat. My parents always have a pot of coffee on and everything about it reminds me of being warm and safe in my childhood home.
I also find pesto quite comforting. I remember a dinner when I was about 12 where my dad had heard of this new fangled stuff called pesto. He had never had it before, heck nobody had, I really don’t think it was wildly popular until not that long ago. He made it with dried basil and put it over pasta with ground beef added at the end. It was an oily consistency and although you will probably think I am crazy, it was DELICIOUS! It kind of started a pesto revolution in my family; my parents went on a SEARCH that lasted most of the rest of my childhood for the perfect pesto. They mastered it somewhere around my 16thbirthday and to this day my mom and I put up as many jars of pesto that we can squeeze into the freezer during basil season. We use fresh basil these days. So for me, more than eating pesto which I find very comforting, the act of putting it up in the freezer for the winter is even more so.
Last but not least on my comfort food list are my mom’s orange danishes. When I was a little girl my mom baked for a local shop and every weekend I woke up to the yeasty smell of these beautiful spirals of orange deliciousness baking in the oven. I make them once a year during the holidays and find that they instantly transport me back.
No matter what you personally find comforting, you probably have been hoping since you saw the wordsbacon and roasted pumpkin 3 cheese macaroni and cheesethat I would give you the recipe, so here it is. Enjoy!
Bacon and Roasted Pumpkin 3 Cheese Macaroni and Cheese
- ½ lb diced bacon
- 1 T garlic granules
- 4 T butter
- ½ cup flour
- ½ T dry mustard powder
- ½ T salt
- 1 t paprika
- 2 cup milk
- 1 ½ cup heavy cream
- 1/3 cup shredded cheddar
- 1/3 cup shredded parmesan
- ¼ cup crumbled gorgonzola
- 4 cup diced pumpkin
- 1 lb macaroni
- Toss the diced pumpkin in a little olive oil and salt and roast off at 450 degrees until done, set aside
- Cook off the macaroni, set aside
- In a sauce pan cook the bacon until crisp, remove the bacon and set aside, discard the bacon fat
- Lower the heat to low, melt the butter in the sauce pan and whisk in the dry mustard, salt, garlic granules, and paprika
- Whisk in the flour until smooth and continue to cook for a couple of minutes until the mixture smells toasty
- Add the milk and cream, whisking until smooth. Simmer until the liquid has the consistency of a very loose gravy, stir constantly to avoid burning on the bottom (If the sauce seems too thick, add more milk, a little at a time, stirring after each addition until the consistency makes you happy)
- Whisk in the cheeses thoroughly
- Add in the reserved bacon
- Taste! Adjust seasonings as needed
- Mix the sauce into the cooked macaroni, add the roasted pumpkin and enjoy!
More Co-op News
To further our sustainability efforts and to serve you better, we began offering Electronic Owner Coupons in January 2017 at the register.
No more forgetting to bring your owner coupons. No more waiting for your newsletter to arrive. Cashiers simply ask if you want to use your owner coupons when you check out.
As we enter our second year of Electronic Coupons we wanted to share a couple of friendly reminders and the 2018 month by month schedule.
By Annie Hoy, Marketing Manager
We often refer to cooperatives as “democratic enterprises.” But what does that really mean? The Ashland Food Co-op, like all other co-ops in most economic sectors, is owned and controlled by the people who use its services.
The funding cycle for the 2018 Co-op Community Grants for nonprofit organizations begins in February.
Every spring, for more than 20 years, we’ve been donating to area nonprofits through our Community Grant program. We are committed to creating healthy, sustainable communities and this program helps us fulfill that commitment by supporting the amazing work of local nonprofits. The Community Grant program is also the highlight of Cooperative Principle 7, Concern for Community, and is something we take to heart.
By Emile Amarotico
As we commence our lap around the sun in 2018, I wish to recognize the longstanding contributions of an amazing group of professionals. We are blessed with the dedication of eleven department managers expertly coordinating the daily flow of people, products and services that breath life into our Co-op!
Lynne (35+ years’ tenure) our Grocery Manager oversees keeping the aisles abundant with shelf stable products and coolers full of fresh perishables.
By Gwyneth Bowman, Vice President
After serving on the AFC Board for fourteen years my passion for the Co-op model has strengthened my commitment to the Cooperative Principles and Values. Of special importance is how we work together as a governing body with one voice. We are the ultimate decision-makers of our Co-op and hold a trusteeship for the benefit of our owners and community.
Like it or not, the cool weather has arrived. Whether you are heading out for a hike or enjoying a good book by the fire, the Co-op Deli has what you need to fuel your favorite fall activity. Stay warm with these comfort food recommendations from the Co-op Deli.
By Emile Amarotico
A recent visitor commented that our parking is totally inadequate to our business volume. What’s true is that we cannot create more parking due to space and municipal code constraints. Thus, the value of each available space is increasing over time. Assuming only half of Co-op shoppers use automobile parking, each space supports at least $200,000 in annual sales.
When not working on Board of Director efforts, my profession is an Interior and Building Designer. I own the Ashland Design Studio, located in the Historic Railroad District, and have a design services studio there - JulieO Design. I have been in the architectural design business my whole life; from crawling around my father's architectural studio to traveling around the world working on buildings large and small to now having created my own niche in the local building community. I took a few years off this path to own and run Tease Restaurant here in Ashland.
October is National Co-op Month, so what’s the big deal? Being a co-op is special. Yes, we know we are biased, but being a cooperative enterprise means we do business differently. We don’t have a single owner living on their private island drinking margaritas all day without a care in the world. We are owned and governed by you, our 10,000 members. We share the burden in hard times and share the benefits in the good times. We put people, the planet and our principles before profit.
By Emile Armarotico
This spring, National Co-op Grocers recognized Ashland Food Co-op as a Co+efficient Sustainability Star for our excellent sustainability efforts.
Our Sustainability Vision aims at being carbon neutral by 2030. We’ve taken a great stride toward this by installing a 39 kilowatt solar electric system on our rooftop with the capacity to generate approximately 7% of our electricity usage. The cost was partially offset by a $27,000 REAP (Rural Energy for America Program) Grant.
When we say local, we mean local. We source our local goods from within 200 miles of the store. By purchasing goods from local producers, we aim to create and maintain a healthy local economy and support family farms. What could be better than helping your community by buying local goods?
With all the local products that we offer, it’s hard to pick a favorite. But that’s exactly what we asked our staff to do. Here are some of their go-to local eats.
How often can you browse the shelf at your neighborhood grocery store, see a bottle of hand crafted, local cider and say, “Hey, I help make that!” Well, at the Co-op you can.
Many of us wait all year for this moment. We spend the winter months dreaming of a certain fuzzy stone fruit, its sweet juices dripping from our face and the buttery golden pie crust those yellow-orange slices will inhabit.
Good news! The wait is over. That local, sweet orb of sunshine has finally arrived. That’s right. Rolling Hills peaches are here!
Deep in our hearts we've always known we were sustainability stars, but now we have an award to prove it.
We recently received a Co+efficient Sustainability Star award from National Co-op Grocers (NCG) recognizing our positive environmental and community impacts.
Co+efficient, NCG’s sustainability program, measures social, environmental and local economic impacts from participating food co-ops across the country.