Friday, December 10, 2010

Hankering for More

 This morning I was disinclined to exit my bed. It was warm in there, not so away from the covers. I lingered to say my morning gratitudes and think about the days agenda. Eventually the desire for a cup of tea trumped the desire to stay in the bed. Had I remembered there was no half & half for the tea, only milk, I might have lingered longer.


 About mid morning I was feeling blah.
All of me hurt, not badly, but all of me.
I do not belong in a cold climate and unfortunately, this week, my Southern locale isn't holding the line. Temperatures squeaking along the teens with threats of ice over the weekend is not to my liking . Literally, when I am too cold I do not maintain body temperature.  All of me aches and I get a tad cranky. Some would say more than cranky.  I  left my desk and took a walk about where I slowly recognized I had a serious hankering for Pot Roast.

Like many, Pot Roast is a favorite comfort food. My mother taught us girls how to cook ours in a big , oval shaped, LeCreuset  pot. Mostly I like mine with onions, mushrooms  and carrots served with rice, not potatoes. But we learned to cook a version using red wine and yet another version cooked in tomatoes.
All of them comfort and none of them  showed up on my menu today. Pot roast takes time and attention so usually it is a weekend endeavor or a first of the week left over. We do have plenty of the  "Meat+3" places in these parts but I maintain a low sodium regimen and they do not. So, for me, a hankering for pot roast means I must cook.

These days I am trying to shed some pounds so am making the effort to eat my main meal of the day before 4pm. "Dinner" these days is often apple slices with almonds and a cup of tea.  I did not have time to make pot roast today, nevermind before 4pm.  In the freezer I did have a  container of lentils which had been made with pork , onions and carrots. So I thought, I'll just make rice and  heat the lentils; with minimal effort I will have a great cold day comfort meal.
The lentils and rice served a need.
Filled a hole.
But,
it did not squelch the pot roast craving.
Nor did it comfort.
Not a bit.

That got me to thinking about why we crave different comforts.
If I have a craving for a fine cup of hot chocolate then a cup of tea will not suffice.
If I have a craving for a great cup of tea, there best be some half and half  available.
If I have a craving for  real  french toast, a waffle simply will not do.
If I am craving a thick juicy steak, a thick juicy pork chop doesn't satisfy the craving.

I know there are some who say cravings are our bodies method of  filling a need for a specific vitamin or mineral. That is probably true but for many the craving is as much emotional as it is physical. My mother always made a pot of  vegetable beef soup with a cabbage base for my homecomings. I make the classic
Southern eggy-cheesy baked mac and cheese for Mermaid's homecomings. There are other mother made comfort foods for us both but those are not our "homecoming" favorites.
The crave quenchers.

Why do we crave?
If I crave light, do I just need vitamin D?
If I crave a hot massaging shower is it just to release muscle tension?
Do I choose a movie to help me laugh or cry as needed?
Do I crave laughter? Can one crave a really good cry?
If I yearn to spend a day in the hammock reading a book from cover to cover is it medicine or indulgence?
It is odd the number of things we can crave. If I feel the threat of the unknown I crave the feel of my Dad's shirt on my face. If I have an aching spirit  I crave heart pounding physical activity.

Is a craving a necessity or a want?
I do not know .
Today I learned if there is
no half and half,
no pot roast,
no chocolate
and
it's really cold
I CRAVE comfort .

16 comments:

Kymical Reactions said...

Fishy, I don't know if you've ever read Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats, but this post reminds me of the Rum Tum Tugger.

I'm craving comfort too. I really want a tea. or a coke. But, I've vowed absolutely no caffeine until I have the baby and stop breast feeding. It's very hard, and I've found no known suitable substitute.

A great cup of hot chocolate with marshmallow's sure does sound good right now.

x.

fishy said...

Kym!
Lovely to hear from you. I have not read the book you referenced, will I find answers there?

There are many who will swear there is no substitute for caffeine. My guess is by the time you have this present of a baby you will no longer crave caffeine. Actually holding the baby will give you all the incentive you need to stay the course!

It might sound crazy to you but have you tried drinking milk? For me, drinking milk satisfied all cravings while preggers. Or this time of year warmed eggnog? Mulled cider with cinnamon? A hot cup of V8 with a dash of pepper and a celery stick?

Here's hoping you find the comfort to go with the joy.

Troll said...

Now, I crave pot roast. I've discovered that it's a MYTH that pot roast must be cooked low-and-slow.

Search the innerwebs and you'll find a recipe you like that cooks at high temps quickly.

Kymical Reactions said...

Fishy, you may not find your comfort answers in the Rum Tum Tugger poem, as he was a cat that never could quite figure out what it was he needed to satisfy what he was looking for.

I've been drinking a sip of eggnog every morning to help get my prenatal pill down. Goodness they are huge and so hard to swallow. The thickness of the eggnog makes it easier to swallow the pill. I've never been keen on warm drinks so I'm not sure how I'd do. I'll try more milk to see if that will help curb the caffeine cravings.

So far, my biggest craving is peanut butter and jelly. I like them grilled like a grilled cheese. So good. :)

Boxer said...

I've read pregnant women (hello Kymmie!) will eat charcoal because their bodies are asking for for certain vitamins/nutrients. I think instincts have served us well over the centuries.... how did our people survive? Were "we" more tuned to what would heal/help the body.

It's still programmed deep in our DNA and yet we have grocery stores/etc to fill our needs. I think people should be more intune with what's going on inside themselves. (but probably shouldn't eat charcoal.)

Maybe your desire for pot roast is the warm food AND the memory of why it made you happy to eat it. Perhaps you need the extra iron and your body can sense it.

Sometimes, staying in bed just a little longer and listening to ourselves is the perfect way to start a day.

So, long answer to your question; is craving a necessity or a want?

I think it started as a necessity and society (mostly big corporations selling things) have turned into want.

Pam said...

I have a pot roast in the slow cooker right this minute. Was craving it earlier in the week when at the grocery store and this has been the perfect weekend to put it on and savor the smells as it cooks all day. In fact, I think I will go dish it up. E-mail me if you get the chance, I have something I want to know if you have tried.

fishy said...

Troll,
Do you have a high speed recipe you favor?

Kym,
I could not get those prenatal pills down at all, I crushed mine between two spoons then added the prenatal powder to food. Worked for me!

Boxer,
I'm going with cravings are our
on board early warning systems.

Pam,
That was sooooooooooooo mean!
But, that said, how was it?

chickory said...

i think when you crave met your body is saying "i need protein" chocolate is natures anti-anxiety/anti depressant. some food cravings are for things that are actually not too good for you -and then that is a kind of addiction.

have you ever had too much junk food? your brain will drive you to fresh leafy greens.

pot roast is a great comfort food. mine is fired chicken and mashed potatoes. mmmmmmmmmmm

well -its icy here and dark. should be a fun day!

Aunty Belle said...

Fishy,
make the dern pot roast an post the pics already--we's all hangin' around droolin....go git her done.

moi said...

I think cravings are a kind of neurological hangover of the survival instinct, since humans still experience and respond to life primarily through their senses rather than through their intellect. At least that's what I tell myself whenever I hit the fridge for one more piece of chocolate cake. I'm not being greedy; I'm just preparing for tomorrow's hunt.

Mermaid said...

Well Mama Fish, you need something! Pot roast sounds like a great start, and while you're at it, make enough for me!!!! I've been craving pot roast all season long, and I definitely don't have the time or the appropriate le Cruset (or groceries) to make myself any comforting stews of any description. Bummer for me, but I'm with Aunty, make some pot roast!!!

On the subject of cravings, our bodies will tell us what it wants when it wants/needs something. Sometimes it's hard to listen becasue we've trained ourselves in this disposable world to over ride our natural sense of balance and need with the desire to quickly satisfy a hunger or emotions etc. It is true that at times we do in fact need to sit down and bawl our eyes out (although I've never been particularly good at it) and we most definately need to laugh! Both of those emotional overloads serve great purposes in our chemical makeup, and releases the required chemicals to make us 'functional' again. Cravings are viable, and not illusions so listen to those cravings and balance may be found. Just don't listen to any totally crazy cravings like the desire to eat a container of salt, or go jump off a cliff because you need adrenaline or something ;)

fishy said...

Chickory,
So your vote is cravings are valid!
I agree. I told myself that very thing while rummaging in the cupboard looking for the chocolate chips I bought for making cookies.

Pot roast is a great comfort against
"icy and dark"

Aunty,
I heard you, the pot roast is in progress! I even went to a butcher shop and had them fresh cut a pot roast from a no antibiotics, no hormones, grain-grass fed, "organic" side. Now where is that camera???????

Moi,
Intellectually I need a pot roast if I want this brain to continue working.

And NOW I am confused, I thought it was important to "carbo load" before a run .... which IS the new hunt. Isn't it?

Mermaid,
If you ever decide to sit down and have a good cry I can guarantee success with these movies:
A) The Horse Whisperer
B) Message In A Bottle
C) Man On Fire
I cannot guarantee the stop.

If I ever have a huge salt craving, TRUST ME, it won't be anything as awful as the container. It shall be something really satisfying like Pizza or a BLT, or lobster or other indulgences I have avoided for 3 decades.

No bridges, if I need an adrenaline rush I'll just climb aboard your Galoubet. Or really, I can get all the rush I can handle watching you compete.

Too bad you are not close enough to come for dinner. Does pot roast freeze well?

Mermaid said...

I have made it my life's pursuit to avoid those movies for good reason!!! I don't care for the elephant in my chest feeling for days on end... just not my thing!! I have no idea if pot roast freezes well. Might have to experiment!

moi said...

Hon, chocolate cake IS carb-loading :o). Actually, running is the "old" hunt. The marathon distance is imprinted in our DNA, the result of thousands of years of us running down our prey on foot. There are animals that are faster than we are, but no creature can outlast us at an average speed of 5 to 7 mph over 3-4 hours.

Kara said...

When I crave comfort food and pot roast, I get a nice piece of grass fed beef. If you are trying to shed pounds grass fed beef is a good way to go. I work with La Cense Beef, and grass fed beef is lower in calories and fat and higher in omega 3 acids and beta-carotene. The taste is also amazing. La Cense is having a Grassfed Holiday Sale right now. I just stocked up myself and am so excited to make my Pot Roast.

fishy said...

Moi,
Exactly! Choco-loading is the best carbo load so there is reason for the whopping piece of chocolate cake. Ha ..... the old hunt is new again! Only now we run so we can eat chocolate calories without pounds added.

Kara,
Welcome! Actually I did go get a great natural beef pot roast and it did by golly fix the crave. Thank you for the link, as it turns out we have great local
sources for all natural, grass fed meats and I agree, the taste is amazing!