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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Sorry, I can't talk right now, I'm eating my feelings

I took a poll on facebook and asked folks what their favorite comfort food was, and I got the usual answers: mac and cheese, homemade; soup; Shepard's pie; mashed potatoes; pasta. All starchy, all hot, all filling.

I got to thinking about comfort food and what it does for us. It seems very visceral and pure to me: you feel lousy, and when you feel bad you feel empty. Naturally you try to fill that hole with something warm and cottony and soft hoping it will make you feel better. Is there something biological at work here as well? I did some googling and it turns out yes, there is. Some of it is conditioning - we crave the foods we were given to soothe us as children - and some of it is science; we feel happier when our stomachs are full, and nothing makes us feel fuller faster than fat and starch. But there is also a psychological component as well: A recent study suggests a strong link between comfort foods and the comfort we get from loved ones; in fact, simply thinking of comfort foods can make us feel significantly less lonely. Hmmmm.

I have felt like a pretty big bucket of shit lately, and for no real reason. Perhaps a little mix of everything, but one thing is for sure: I don't like feeling this way. So I thought I would make something to cheer myself up. I made a list of all the things I like to eat when I feel blue: pasta, cheese, bread, seafood (I know, I don't know why either), ice cream, cake, hot dogs. I chose a dish that incorporated the most of these varied ingredients, Lobster Mac and Cheese (from scratch):

Lobster Mac and Cheese for when you're Feeling Blue

2 cups elbow macaroni
4 tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 cup flour
4 cups milk
2 cups grated fontina cheese
1 cup grated sharp cheddar
3 tbsp lobster broth
1 tsp tabasco sauce
1/4 grated nutmeg
fresh ground black pepper to taste
1 cup cooked lobster meat, cut into 1" chunks
1/3 cup minced chives
2 green onions, chopped thinly

If you are using fresh lobster, saute in a pan with butter until cooked through. Set aside.

Heat oven to 375. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until halfway done, about 3 minutes. Drain pasta, transfer to a bowl and set aside.

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and cook, whisking constantly until smooth. Whisk in milk and stir until sauce has thickened and coats the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and stir in the cheeses (leaving a little out), broth, tabasco, nutmeg and season with salt and pepper. Add pasta to cheese sauce. Stir in half each of the lobster, chives and scallions.

Transfer the mixture to a 9x9 baking dish and sprinkle with the leftover cheese, lobster, chives and scallions. Bake until golden brown and bubbly, about 1/2 hour.

This was absolutely delicious and absolutely comforting, although not at all comforting for my pocketbook: this is the most expensive dish I have ever made on Crass Cuisine. Cheese and lobster are not cheap. But totally worth it, because it made me feel better. Life is too short to feel shitty without a real reason!

Comfort is a feeling that means many different things to many different people, and that could not be more true of the following men:

I can truly say I've found a group that's even more disturbing than the adult male virgins of yore: adult men who own Real Dolls. More specifically: adult men who have extreme difficulty forming human relationships and who have chosen to have relationships with silicon women instead. Something you need to see to believe. A link to the first part of the BBC documentary "Guys and Dolls" here. Please watch all five and have your mind blown.

One sec:


I need 5 hot showers after seeing these men, (particularly Everard, something about him makes me want to go to the doctor and get myself sewn up) Same question posed here that was posted in the virgin post: How does this shit happen? What?

I don't want to be cruel, but as I knew would happen, I've become just as fascinated by these men as I have with the adult male virgins, for one simple reason: I don't understand the lack of self-awareness it takes to get to this place. As was the same problem with virgin squared, these men (with the possible exception of Davecat) seem to feel awfully sorry for themselves. They are quite willing to whine, but they are not really willing to admit, confess, or cede that they are at least equally as culpable as the live women who reject them for their rejected state. It does make sense to me, because it's a form of self-preservation. But also? It's lazy and selfish and emotionally immature. If we don't interact with other humans, we no longer have the necessity for self-improvement. A silicon woman cannot talk back, she can't object, she can't be anything other than exactly what the damaged man who owns her wants her to be. Therefore, it's easier and more satisfying to the ego to pursue this option. Also? It's tantamount to abandoning participation in the human race because it's too hard. To which I say: Too fucking bad.

All of us have self-esteem issues. We have body image problems and strange habits and bad smells and are repellant in some way. One of the processes of getting along in the world is learning how to deal with our faults and the faults of others; this requires compromise, willingness to change, acceptance of self and the understanding that being questioned and challenged is good, not bad. I feel like these men and the virgins before them refuse to be challenged, refuse to do things any other way but theirs, and then complain when it doesn't go the way they think it should. Children can get away with this, but not adults.

But ultimately, a man having a silicon girlfriend or wife is none of my business and it's not hurting anyone. So fuck on, you batshit crazy diamonds.

So why do we watch? Because it's amazing. Because it makes me feel a million times better about me. For all my faults, I'm not fucking a plastic dude in my parents basement. And that, my friends, is very comforting.

PS I got the word 'culpable' from watching reruns of Law and Order. A lot.


  1. Now that I am living on the east coast, lobster mac is definitely on my list of must try recipes! How can you go wrong combining the two, it's impossible!

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