Tonight I ate a big plate of french fries. I had gone out to lunch with a friend (company good, food so so), and I had not been hungry for dinner. My husband fed himself and the girls. Naturally around 9 PM I was hungry, so why not go for a large plate french fries! Typically I crave sweets but tonight I wanted salty and filling.
French Fries hold a special place in my heart (and stomach) for comfort. There are several foods I hold dear. Chocolate of course, pizza (which I craved like crazy while pregnant), cake, ice cream, and of course french fries.
My fondest memories of french fries come from college. I lived my years at the University of Delaware on "West Campus", and as such used Rodney Dining Hall for a food source. Alas, I cannot speak well of Rodney Dining Hall food overall. It was, after all a dining hall. I cannot say I ever loved it. The tale of my brief work experience in the bowels of this establishment will also have to wait for another day.
BUT, at night, the lower level of Rodney Dining Hall (The Snack Bar) was open for service. It was not the swipe your card and get the typical swill. The food was made to order, fresh! There was a limited menu but everything was CHEAP. I was a freshman and stretching the dollar was important to me. My constant dilemma was spend 75 cents on french fries? or the $1.50 for the milkshake? or really splurge and get both? (it was college, I wasn't the most healthy eater) The plate of fries was always piled high, steaming, crispy on the outside and soft potato goodness on the inside. The milkshake was made right there and I often ordered mint chocolate chip. You got ice cream and at the end you could use a spoon to scoop out the flat, square, dark chocolate bits from the bottom of the cup.
I enjoyed eating the food there. I enjoyed the walk in the cold to get there. I loved the warmth once you stepped inside, and the anticipation of my choice of order. I also looked forward to the conversation to be had with a friend while there.
You see, that was the second part of the comfort in this comfort food. You did not go the snack bar alone, the fries gave me a reason to seek our friends to join me. I got food with a side of laughter. I seek this combination out even now in Knoxville. This week I went to lunch with a new friend. I also picked up the phone and called another woman I met here and we are going to lunch next week. This woman got to Knoxville (via Seattle) about the same time I did with the same circumstances as me. (new job) She has some added challenges of older children and her mother who had to move with her. (would you want to move when you were 80?) I like this woman. I don't know where we are going for lunch, but I do know that even though I will be leaving soon, I am hoping to give her a big plate of french fries with a side of laughter.