by Tara Davis

Can we talk, for just a moment, about a specific taboo phrase?
Ok, good.
It’s the phrase “emotional eating.”  (Eeeek!!!  Cue ominous music) When I was writing the intro for my website, I struggled with and skirted around that word-emotional.  For some reason, whether media driven, nouveaux psychological or true practice, any time the notions of food and feelings are allowed within a common conversational space, we are not only told how wrong it is, but how damaged those must be who do so.
But why?
Why have we allowed a questionable coping practice for a bit of the population to shame us out of the genuine joy we can, and in my opinion, should derive from the knowledge, the process,  the cultural inheritance and bonding, the communing of man and nature?
How is acknowledging the way our souls occasionally benefit from a nice cup of tea or coffee, honey and produce from our neighbors, or a home cooked meal made with love such a damned crime?
If I sometimes have a burning desire that can only be satiated with a decent cheeseburger (insert your food weakness here), so long as that doesn’t mean 3 or 6 or 11teen…. so what?
It is a short life we live, on a big world, in a practically infinite universe.  That’s pretty easy math, y’all.
I move we take back our right to our feelings about food and embrace the genuine ways in which it is so integral to us.
Yes, sometimes that means emotionally.
There are dishes that just make me feel happy. That does not mean I use them to patch my wounds or feed my self worth (in either direction).  I allow myself to derive from them the wonders they allow, and I believe whole heartedly that is not only ok, but important.
I include a couple of recipes that fit in this category for me personally below.
This week, I challenge you to be savage. Indulge just a little, appreciate every bite and sip, and be sure to tell me, or someone all about it.
That scoop of ice cream, corn dog or fried chicken leg?  Occasionally we should all just shut up and eat it!
The Recipes:
Blueberry waffles – mix 2 eggs, 2 cups all purpose flour, 1 3/4 cups milk, 1/2 cups vegetable oil, 1 Tbsp sugar, 4 tsp baking powder and 3/4 cup blueberries.  Ladel into greased waffle maker (no waffle maker? These can also be pancakes) and cook until medium brown. Serve with bacon dipped in syrup.
Meatloaf Sandwich – Use leftover meatloaf, or make a small one – (1 lb ground beef, 1 stick celery, chopped, 1/3 onion, diced, 1 tsp garlic, salt and pepper to taste. Bake at 350 degrees 20-25 minutes or until thermometer inserted in the center reads 165 degrees). Slice into thick planks. Toast bread of your choice and butter.  Stack 2 layers each of meatloaf, sautéed onions and swiss cheese. Bake in over or toaster oven until the cheese has melted.  Slice and serve with mustard or gravy.
Limeade – Zest and juice 12-20 limes, depending upon yield, for a total of 1.5 cups. Mix with 2 cups simple syrup, 5 cups water, and 1 cups chopped fresh mint. Serve over ice.
Simple syrup – 2 cups sugar, 2 cups water. Simmer over medium heat until sugar is fully dissolved.
Chicken soup – roast 2 chicken breasts and shred. Set aside.  Dice 1 white onion, 1 carrot, 2 celery stalks, 4-6 mushrooms.  Sautee in 2 Tbsp vegetable oil over medium high heat until soft. Add 2 tbsp. garlic and shredded chicken.  Cover with 3 cups chicken stock, 2 cups water, add 1 stem fresh rosemary, salt and pepper to taste.  Remove rosemary before serving, and serve as is, over rice or pasta.