I know far too many good humans that are out of action. Not much to do once someone is down for the count except help them convalesce, keep em’ comfy and full of the good stuff. Beyond that, we’re into the realm of wish fulfilment. If it’s a case of man flu, then this might well be considered a last meal. Sorry fellas, I know too many of you who aim for stoic yet match the aura of a snuffly toddler. The idiom is accurate.
A while ago we looked at immunity boosting. Since that horse has bolted with our sicko's, it's time to commit to a fav of mine. And yours. Everyone’s. Comfort food! Now that your loved one has been struck down most foul, the best you can do for them is make their comfort food. It’s often something from childhood. A vivid memory for me was Mums half lemonade/OJ concoction. I guess we were getting some Vit C and hydration without us kids whining about it. I still want it when the flu comes a knocking 30 years later.
This is the thing I love most about making food. The gifting, the nourishment of more than just the nutritional. When you cook for someone who is unwell, stressed, depressed, or mourning you are giving them the time and space to commit to the process of getting what they need, rather than tending to the mundane. I am coming to understand the ancient tradition of every aunty descending upon a household with a casserole in times of need.
So, here are a few classic comfort foods that can utilize your vege box and sneak a little nutrition into the nom’s. No man flu cures here though, sorry chaps.
- Mac n Cheese: As kids our mac n cheese came from a blue box, had an orange sauce and we added cheddar mountain to it. But it had healing properties, I swear...
Trade out the heavy cheese sauce with a potato and carrot-based one instead. Boil your carrots and potato in a minimal amount of water, then stick blend the lot. Add nutritional yeast, parmesan, garlic powder and onion powder, plus seasoning till you’ve got the popping flavour.
- Healthy nachos: My first brush with south American cuisine (Baked beans, sweet chilli and an inch of cheese on tortillas. Muy bien!) We’ve come a long way.
The combo of beans and tortillas gives nachos an eye watering calorie count. Try replacing the nachos with sliced raw vege (Bok choy, carrot etc) Potato or kumara slices dry roasted or baked kale crisps. It’s a knife and fork kind of nacho occasion with the kale, but it’s the lightest. Load up on paprika, cumin etc. Grate some cauli or broccoli into the pan while you’re frying off the onion and garlic for some extra antioxidants.
- Cauliflower pizza base: it’s all about that topping. Keep it light and fresh, as tradition would dictate. Try this one for the base - https://www.healthyfood.com/healthy-recipes/cauliflower-pizza-base
- Lasagna: Potato/carrot cheese sauce again! Try replacing the pasta sheet with thin slices of carrot, pumpkin, potato or zucchini. Just fry till softened so the vege cooks at the same rate as the rest of the dish.