The Truth About Mood Food

It’s much more fun to have a fat mom. Instead of taking you for a run after a bad day, she says, “Here, honey; let’s have some pudding and Oreos and ice cream and we’ll talk when we come out of the sugar coma.” Roseanne Barr

It’s shaping up to be a day like that here at WolfMama’s Kitchen. Except that the Ms. Barr’s suggestions don’t sit right with my digestive tract these days. 

There is nothing wrong with comfort eating if you are doing it with deliberate intention to make yourself feel better or compensate for a jour du merde. We know that chocolate and well-selected brands of potato chips can raise bliss inducing brain chemicals to optimal levels in a short period of time. It is OK to have the occasional extra scoop of ice cream or a pile of fries done with the deliberate intention of providing comfort and pleasure. 

If it crosses the line into mindlessly stuffing food into your piehole and you’re not tasting it anymore, or feeling like you must…eat…last…three…brownies….that is a problem. 

Choose your indulgences wisely. If it starts happening too often, please look at what you’re eating, when, and why, then talk to a trusted friend who doesn’t judge or a helping professional.


Random Post-Storm Monday Thoughts

This morning is celebrated with grace and gratitude. The worst of the storms that hit Illinois passed to the south and west of us. We just had a lot of wind and moderately heavy downpours. No damage, just a 30-second power outage. 

Today has intermittent clouds and sun, and the wind has downgraded to a roar from the sustained banshee wail that ripped across the sky for the better part of yesterday. The post storm tasks begin.

Pulling focus on the immediate concerns of clean up and housing for people who have been displaced are the first priorities. If you can help with either, that’s great. If you can’t, the best thing that you can donate is cash. That enables the NFPs handling rescue and recovery efforts to purchase exactly what they need for their efforts. Some years ago when the tsunami hit Thailand, one of the field offices for a relief organization received a box. When they opened it, they found several down-filled jackets. The donors meant well, even if they were a little off about the weather in Bangkok. 

We also need to widen our focus and look at what climate change is doing to the planet. The tasks before us include educating ourselves and others about climate change; implementing small changes in our lives to help in efforts to put the brakes on it; and letting the elected officials know our feelings about environmental legislation. 

I don’t have enough of a grounding in science to know if we’ve passed the tipping point. The best we can do is hope we haven’t and take the actions that we can.


Remembrance Sunday

To you from failing hands we throw the torch; be yours to hold it high.

Even I get distracted from food and dogs now and then. I have been watching “Blackadder Goes Forth,” and (spoiler alert) somehow, the last scene where the boys go over the top and into the line of fire with all of them getting killed followed by the poppies growing in the healing field makes one of the more poignant arguments against war that I’ve seen.  

In the UK and Commonwealth nations, today is Remembrance Sunday. Tomorrow in the US, it’s Veterans’ Day, formerly known as Armistice Day. World War I ended at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918.

The original intention was to remember the soldiers who lost their lives, and express gratitude to the living survivors. It was supposed to be a day of contemplating peace.  It was supposed to be the war to end all wars; it was the first war to use chemical weapons and tanks and planes,upping the horror quotient. It wasn’t, and it didn’t. 

 World War II. Korea. Vietnam. Gulf Wars. Afghanistan. Each one brought its own developments in terror: nuclear weapons, Agent Orange, drones. Each one upping the ante for destroying the planet and personal freedoms as well as being repurposed for civilian misuse, such as the chemicals now used in agricultural applications and drones patrolling for municipal law enforcement agencies.

So I will watch that last episode of “Blackadder,” and I will be grateful to the real-life soldiers who gave so much on those field in France almost a century ago.

And I will do what I can to promote peace, starting in my own heart. 





Simpler Fare

An empty sack cannot stand up; a starving belly will not listen to reason. Creole proverb.

I reread parts of More with Less recently. If you’re not familiar with the cookbook, it was originally published in the ’70’s by the Mennonite church. No matter your spiritual orientation or lack thereof, it gives food for thought (pun intended) about cooking and eating and shopping and how one’s choices can impact the world at large.

With food prices going ballistic for everyone, the wisdom will help anyone’s groceries stretch a little further in a relatively painless manner. The meals and meal planning are pretty simple, relying on ingredients that can be found in the supermarket, even in recipes that came back from Africa and Asia when postings were up. Many use little meat, and the ones that do combine it with veggies, pasta, or beans to make it go as far as possible. There are plenty of veg-friendly selections included, such as baked lentils and soups.

The recipes that have become staples chez moi are the Indonesian fried rice (it includes curry), Vietnamese chicken noodle soup, and West African groundnut stew (a curry with peanut butter in the sauce). Oh, and don’t forget the skillet cabbage and green bean stir-fry. 

In addition to the simple recipes, the book includes instructions on how to make homemade chicken stock, soap from cooking fat, and other green ideas. They also encourage the making of soup to avoid wasting anything.

If you’re looking for a reboot, this just might be your book.





Have Yourself a Merry Little (Insert Year-End Holiday)

There are some people who pull of Disney-esque holiday extravaganzas. You know, the ones who get the presents wrapped by October 31? I bless them on their path.

There are some who pull celebrations out of thin air and run to the nearest gas station minutes before midnight on Christmas Eve for the last carton of sour cream and something for Uncle Lester who unexpectedly dropped in. I bless them on their path.

And then there are those of us who just wish that December would go away, except for a couple of very important birthdays. I bless my fellows on this path. Christmas lost its luster for me after my mom made her passage. It had been her show. But in the ensuing years, the memories of the arguments and my dad’s erratic behavior coupled with his inability to cope without Mom leading him to dump a lot of the responsibilities on my head by the time I was 12 make the holiday season a five week PTSD attack for me. In more recent years, the realization that I really did not get any satisfaction out of hosting holiday gatherings, that I was tired of listening to people hit buttons and argue, and Hubby feeling coerced into celebrating a holiday that wasn’t his made me reevaluate. So I quit. 

But we do eat well. It’s just really scaled down. We acknowledge the ancestors on both sides with small batches of treats. We donate to the food pantry and make donations to Heifer International as gifts. We block out the noise of the outside world with a lot of movies. And we have a lovely time.

New Year’s we like, so we bide our time until then. And I sigh with relief on January 2, and look up into the night sky, and feel ready to start the wheel turning again.