What is it about comfort foods? I mean have they always been a thing? The food itself has been around for a long time that I know. But the first time I ever heard the phrase “comfort food” goes back to about the time Kristi and I were married 30 years ago. Often the foods we refer to as “comfort food” are ones that have memories or some deep cultural significance to them.
Some folks have such feelings about mac and cheese, apple pie, chicken noodle soup or other dishes from their childhood. The thought if I have it right is that these foods remind the eater of a simpler, more comfortable time. Thus when life gets complicated, you go running for something to remind you of a better time, a warm and comforting culinary memory.
Thus the photo for today. This is Lefse, it is a Norwegian flatbread made with potatoes. It can be used plain, or buttered or as a sweet with sugar (white or brown). Though I have never been to Norway, many of my ancestors came from there and they brought lefse with them as a comfort, to remind them of home, in a new and strange land. Over the years their descendants kept making the stuff though for them it evoked something different, though no less comforting.
Today’s gift of advent is the word comfort. Comfort plays a significant role in today’s scripture from Isaiah as well. Comfort, O Comfort my people says your God is the opening line in verse 2. In this case, comfort isn’t food, it is how God identifies himself to us. God is the comfort bringer.
In the midst of life when things are going well or things have gotten very complicated, God is the comfort bringer. God has brought comfort in the past and that comfort still comes to us in a form of comfort food I guess, in the bread and wine of Holy Communion. Here we not only remember the promise of comfort from of old, but that comfort promises to be present in that meal for us.