Comfort Food and Conversations

When I was growing up, our kitchen was the heart of our home. People dropped in and the coffee pot was always on and the cookie jar full or there was a cake cooling on the counter.

Mealtimes were important to nourish minds and body and a lively conversation with lots of belly laughs was the norm. We usually had a hired man and quite often ‘extras’ joined us. I loved mealtimes and the lively conversations.

Once I was married and began writing a parenting column for our city newspaper it came as a shock to learn that not everyone sat down together for meals. With busy lives, extracurricular activities and jobs pulling parents in different directions, family meals were not the norm.

Research definitively proved that family mealtimes were important to child development and well being. Unfortunately it wasn’t happening.

The COVID pandemic has changed that behaviour for many. Preparing and sharing meals is happening in more homes and people are beginning to appreciate the benefits of sitting together and eating.

I see advertisements for ‘conversation starter cards’ for family and friends and it amuses me to think we need that sort of support to ‘have a visit.’ I suspect our grandparents would think that is ridiculous!

Since the pandemic, has your mealtime changed? For me finding recipes or adapting existing ones that don’t have us eating leftovers for days has become important. Also trying new things has my husband taking a bite then looking at me and saying, “What do you call this?” 🙂

I am easily bored so it’s true he never knows what surprise he will have at mealtime! Although lately I am reverting back to favourites we enjoyed during our first years of marriage. I suspect he is rather relieved.

I think it’s the cold and early snow and the fact that there is no magic cure for COVID in the near future that has perpetrated my change to comfort foods. I even made some fruit cakes over the week end. While I always made them for my parents and in-laws, this is the earliest I have completed that task.

I have been chatting with friends and it is true that comfort foods have become important in there uncertain times. We decided they bring a sense of normalcy and levelness to our topsy-turvy world.

I thought I’d share two easy recipes that you can adapt to one or two people. The first one is something my mom made and was a favourite. I think she liked the fact that I was eating both eggs and milk because I never preferred them. Plus she could make it for four or fourteen. She called it Welsh Rarebit but it isn’t like the recipes I have seen. Here is her own take.

Welsh Rarebit 350 -400 F 45-60 minutes

Grease a pan with edges (I use spray or use parchment paper)

Put on 4 slices of bread

Cover with slices of cheddar cheese (not processed but any hard cheese would work)

Mix up an egg and milk like you would for scrambled eggs. If you use more bread add more eggs and milk. Pour this mixture over the bread and cheese and bake till golden brown and not soggy.

Easy Chicken Thighs 350F 60 minutes plus…..

A good friend passed this along years ago. I continually made this for my parents and my husband’s parents and it was always a hit. It is easy to transport if you are preparing meals for others. Serve with rice or potatoes and this can easily be adapted to the number of people you are serving. It is so easy and kids like it too.

Pan with edges (Spray with oil)

Package of chicken thighs – I buy skin on/bone in then take the skin off


3/4 cup ketchup

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 tsp. soya sauce

1 1/2 cup water

Yep that’s all that’s in it! Mix up sauce. Pour over chicken and cook till chicken is done. I like to let the chicken get brown. My friend uses chicken pieces and sometimes adds a tin of fruit to fancy it up……….Serve with rice or potatoes.

Do you have a favourite comfort foods you’ve been making? Share the recipe if you wish. I know my husband would be happy to try something new!!!!!! 🙂

Published by Joan Craven

Joan Craven has been a

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  1. Today’s blog was perfect ! I read parts out to Erv who had to smile ! The part of Bob saying what is this called !! Yea, I do know!! Erv says
    Can we have whatever I spruce up … can we have it the old way next time ? 😅
    Also the conversation starter . He loved that
    . We call the chicken recipe “gramma’s
    Chicken as his mother made It all the time. Never fails ! Also my mother called the other welsh rare
    bit as Well
    Thanks for the laugh
    Sent from my iPhone



  2. Hi Joan

    Thanks for the blog post. I love comfort food. I now put my meatloaf mixture into muffins pans (using parchment paper) and poke a large chunk of cheddar in the middle before baking. I love smashed potatoes and now steam a large yam with the potatoes. This makes a pretty pale orange potatoe dish. I only buy boneless, skinless chicken thighs as I don’t like working with the skin. We also have a turkey dinner once a week. I buy boneless skinless turkey thighs and out them in a casserole dish with chicken boullion or mushroom soup. Bake slow for three hours. Then I make a stove top dressing with onions, celery and grainy bread.(no boxed dressing for me). Serve with smashed potatoes. Yum.

    I have been going through old photo albums and pulling out favs to mail to friends as a mailbox piece of candy. I took and still do take way too many photos….

    Stay well Joan. Hi to Bob Mxo



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