Adults, when under severe emotional stress, turn to what could be called ‘comfort food’ this was the heading of an article in the Palm Beach Post newspaper in 1966. Since then the term comfort food have been used world over at least a billion times. It could have been related to mild stress leading situations such as deciding what to cook or wanting to eat something simple yet fulfilling. But it is also linked to the situations where a person is going through mental pressure or emotional upheaval and that person seeks comfort in these so called comfort foods.
Has it ever happened to you that you have been in stress or have been in mild or severe depression that led to emotional eating? Have you done it? Or do you want me to emphasize on the term emotional eating? I will gladly do it for you. Emotional eating is an act of seeking instant gratification by the means of consuming food especially in the times of emotional crisis. So now tell me, have you ever done it? If yes then just do not feel guilty about it, you were not alone.
It is said that almost every second person in the modern times have done this. They have found solace in the comfort food at such grueling times. So today I am going to tell you a story about a heartache that got mended by using this adorable tool called comfort food. We are a week away from the Valentine’s Day and so I though why not post something warm and sweet for the occasion well in advance.
The Comfort food Story
Sheetal received a text at 6 p.m. and it read ‘It’s over’. It was a text from Ishani, her best friend since college days. Sheetal took a while to understand what could have happened. She dialed Ishani’s number and waited for Ishani to pick up. Three rings down but Ishani didn’t pick up. Sheetal replied to Ishani’s message, ‘hey what happened baby, tell me or pick up the phone. I am worried’. Waiting for a reply, tapping her feet in anxiety, Sheetal called Abhay guessing that something sort of relationship trouble and told him what happened.
Abhay was the roommate of Tushar and Tushar was the reason behind the text from Ishani. Abhay told Sheetal that this is a sort of emergency and she needs to go at Ishani’s place. Sheetal finished her shift and stepped out of her office to reach at Ishani’s place. She was still trying to connect with Ishani as Abhay also didn’t know what exactly happened. In a worried state of mind she received a reply finally from Ishani, ‘can’t talk on phone mom and dad around and on high alert. You come here and get me out of here.’
Sheetal now figured out that yes it is definitely a relationship issue. She knew that all of them are in for a big night. The only thing that came to her mind was “Comfort food”. She googled instantly ‘Breakup Comfort Food’ and got few results which had a list of foods that help in such situations. Because what words can’t do, food can certainly do it. The list started with junk and ended with even more junk. Sheetal thanked God that she was single which spared her from all these melodrama.
But right now she had to handle the situation, she called Abhay again and asked him how the situation there is. Abhay replied “Not good, Tushar is really mad at the moment. When we spoke about 2 hours ago.” Sheetal said “Expected! You do one thing, get some food for him and talk to him to calm him down.” Abhay agreed and said ‘Will connect again in couple of hours, you reach to Ishani and see what can be done.’ The conversation ended and both begun their mission.
Sheetal’s phone screen still had the list of comfort foods that worked well for a heart break. Pizza, Chocolates, cakes, burgers, fries and ice-cream. The list was tempting in itself. Sheetal said to herself, these foods can overturn any grief into joy. She quickly picked up a burger and fries on her way to Ishani’s home.
Reaching at Ishani’s home she was greeted by her mom, “hello Sheetal beta, how are you, any plans today with Ishani, she didn’t tell me anything. She is in her bedroom since lunch today.” Sheetal said, “Yes aunty actually tomorrow a friend of ours is leaving for Auckland for her studies, so today we are having a small farewell for her.” Sheetal lied to Ishani’s mom with conviction. Avoiding eye contact and another questions, she sped towards Ishani’s room. Ishani opened the door as soon as she heard the first knock. As if she was expecting Sheetal since a long time.
Sheetal said “Hi there…”, but was shocked to see Ishani’s eyes turned red from crying. Sheetal hugged Ishani and said “Don’t you worry babes, I am here now. Tell me what happened?” Ishani was sobbing and was finding it hard to speak. Sheetal wipe the tears, hugged her even tight and held her for a while.
Ishani finally uttered in a hush tone “He said let’s break up, and we had a big fight.” She was wiping her tears and continued, “It was my fault, and I said things to him that I shouldn’t have.” Sheetal interrupted her while rubbing her back, “Hey, It is okay, we will sort it out. You first go and wash your face. Look what have you done to yourself.” While Ishani stood up and went in the bathroom, Sheetal unwrapped the Burgers and Fries and kept it open in an anticipation that Ishani will be cheered up by this gesture.
Ishani noticed the treat in front of her but said “I am in no Mood to eat. Let us go somewhere.” Sheetal was surprised, in so many years Ishani has never said no to fries, and club it with a burger then this was something Ishani was unable to resist. But today was a different day. Sheetal was hungry but couldn’t eat now. She halfheartedly took 2 fries ate them and wrapped everything again. Then handed this parcel to Ishani’s mom saying, “Aunty this is for you and uncle.” Meanwhile Ishani changed out of her pajama and combed her hair.
Ishani was ready with her clothes for the sleepover and without any eyeliner. Sheetal figured out, that this thing is gonna take a while. She remember lines from Zakir Khan (the comedian) who has truly said “No eyeliner look is not just a look but a statement.” Her Burger and Fries trick failed, so she opened her app from the phone and placed orders for an extra-large cheese burst pizza at her own place, as this where they were going. As soon as she placed the order, they left.
After reaching Sheetal’s home, which was vacant today as 2 of her roommates were out on a trip. She being from Goa, Mumbai was her second home since her post-graduation days. As Ishani was elaborating on the issue of the trouble.
The doorbell rang and the Pizza guy delivered the Pizza. Ishani was still unfazed by the pizza box and the aroma coming from it. As soon as Sheetal opened it, Ishani glanced at the pizza, resisting by all means and trying to put a sad face forward. Sheetal asked her to have one. But now Ishani thought it was too late to break out of the character.
Sheetal knew that Ishani has fallen for the trap. She said “See I am hungry since the morning, so I can’t stay hungry. You better eat or wait for me to finish so that I can cook something for you.” Ishani replied “No, No you eat it.” Sheetal shrugged and started picking a piece which had so much of cheese that it stretched just like they show in the commercials.
Plus the liquid cheese was dripping from the edges. Finally she took a bite and Ishani tried not to give it in. Sheetal said “So why you guys broke up?” Ishani came back to her senses which were engulfed in the pizza. She said “Constant fights and repetitive arguments and he said let us take a break.”
Sheetal tried showing her consoling expression but failed at it, as a delicious pizza loaded with cheese was in her mouth. Ishani started crying again, as the emotional stress was too much but resisting a damn good pizza was worse than that.
Sheetal kept her pizza slice down. Gave a tissue to Ishani and said “Oye drama queen, it happens. It is just that you are in your first relationship and such things happen. So relax it will be sorted.” She pushed the pizza box in front of Ishani and gestured her to have a piece.
Finally Ishani was slightly happy. She grabbed a piece and bit into it and closed her eyes in bliss. Her brain released some endorphins. She felt a bit relaxed. Sheetal knew that this trigger would make things easy.
But soon when Ishani was half way down on that pizza piece, she started crying. “I miss him already, it all started with a pizza date.” Ishani said. Sheetal shouted at her, this time in a firm voice “Ishani come on grow up, you are what 26 now. Stop behaving like a baby. Let me talk to him. We will sort this out. But first eat that slice and finish it.”
Ishani was shocked on the tone of Sheetal but at least that made her quite. She was eating quietly. Sheetal went near the window and called Abhay. Abhay picked up the call and said “Hey Sheetal, what is it, do you know what happened?” Sheetal said “No. But I brought her at my place. Did you speak to Tushar? What you got him to eat? I got burger and fries, which were not good enough so finally a pizza broke the resistance.”
Abhay replied “I got him 2 Vadapavs and 2 samosas.” Sheetal asked again thinking that she heard something wrong “What??? Really!!!” Abhay said “Yes! This is from his favourite place.” Sheetal was not able to believe it. She in a tone of frustration said “You all boys are the same, we are dealing with a relationship issue here, and you could have ordered something better.” Abhay awkwardly replied “Hey it is month end already, and as always the budget is tight, plus we boys live a simple life and need simple things to be happy.”
Sheetal thought there is no point in debating this further. She asked “Where is Tushar?” Abhay said “He is not yet home and his phone is not reachable.” Sheetal said “then what have you done to trace him, aren’t you worried?” Men will be men as it always stands, guys know how and what their buddies think in such situation. Plus they also know when to hit the panic button but making Sheetal understand all these things was not his cup of tea. So he assured her that he will do the needful.
By the time the call finished, the pizza turned cold, Ishani just ate one slice and Sheetal ate three. Four slices still left behind, which Sheetal packed and kept in the refrigerator. Ishani said “Sorry I am bothering you so much. I am a terrible person.” Sheetal smiled calmly as she was expecting it to happen. She knew that in such situation a person blabbers all such non-sense. She asked her “shall I make maggi for you? It will make you feel better. Plus whatever your issues are we can discuss over a plate of maggi.” Ishani found this offer too good to resist.
Sheetal started chopping onions and tomatoes, while the wok was heating the oil for sautéing the veggies. She got some cheese slices from the fridge. While sautéing the onions she told Ishani “Relationships are like this only, just to get rid of the rawness, you need some heat, just like I am sautéing the onions.” She added a pinch of salt and red chili powder and continued to speak, “At times you need to take things with a pinch of salt and add some spices too.” Ishani was listening with all attention on the maggi.
Ishani interrupted, “but this time it was a big fight, we were not able to find time for each other as he is busy with his new job and my office has given me U.S. shift since a month now. So on weekends I just sleep and he insists that we need to meet. All this constant nagging turned into a fight and after 3 weeks of all these silly discussions. Today he said that we need a break. Then blocked me from all the social media and has not responded to my calls.”
Sheetal was listening patiently and once she thought Ishani has finished, “She continued, See now adding tomatoes to the maggi makes it interesting as some sourness is required to keep that tang alive. Then add the maggi masala, which is like the understanding each other factor to figure out what will make this relationship work.” She finally added the boiling water and broke the maggi into the wok. Now after doing everything at times you need to patiently wait.
Maggi was cooked, Ishani got the plates and forks and was about to scoop in for the serving. Sheetal stopped her, “see this is why I told patience is the key.” Sheetal unwrapped the cheese slices and put them on the top and covered the wok and turned the flame off. “Sometime a bit more patience is rewarding.” While they waited for the chees to melt, the doorbell ranged. Sheetal went to open the door. Tushar was standing in front of the door with flowers in one hand and a parcel in the other hand. Sheetal let him in.
Ishani came out of the kitchen to see who it was. She saw Tushar standing inside with puppy face and saying “Sorryyyyyyy”. Ishani’s face was red with anger and frustration. Tushar muttered “say something at least. I got flowers and your favourite Choco-lava cake. I thought comfort food is the only way to ask for forgiveness.” Ishani responded with full anger “You wanted a break, go have your break. Go away, why are you even here.” Sheetal kept mum as she wanted both of them to sort it out on their own.
After a few heated word exchanges, tears rolled down from Ishani’s eyes. Tushar mustered the courage to go near her and held her tight. After resisting initially she gave in. She kept slapping him and said “You moron, why you have to create a scene and then say sorry.” Tushar didn’t say a word. He slowly opened the Choco-lava cake and held it in front of her. Opened the foil covering, scooped a bite and fed her. Her heart melted more than the lava of chocolate and she saw him again with a smile. He said “Now please forgive me. Let us end the fight and discuss this with a lot of understanding.”
Sheetal walked in with 3 plates of maggi with the melted cheese on top. Ishani jumped in excitement, “So yummyyy!!!” Sheetal said “I told you, patience is the key.” She smiled and hugged Sheetal. Sheetal while being hugged, told Tushar to call Abhay form her phone and ask him to finish those Snack items that he got. Tushar called Abhay and informed that everything is sorted. Abhay was happier because now he had all the Vadapavs and Samosas to himself. Life of guys is so much sorted.
At last the three of them ate the maggi, ate the choco-lava cakes and reheated the pizza to finish it off. They had a healthy discussion and both the love birds were re-united. All of them agreed that being in an emotional turmoil it was not as easy as it looked. Food made the difference. So they decided that may whatever happen in the future, they will sort it out on a table full of junk food. As this is where the comfort food magic comes in the picture.
This was a happy ending to a small story that underlines the importance of comfort food while dealing with heart break or heartache. So have you ever done this to come out of a heart break or heartache? If yes then do let me know in the comments. If you liked this story, then do share with your buddies and better half. I do write such stories which you can read here.
If you have a constructive feedback then write to me on [email protected] or else you can DM me on foodie_khiladi007. With this your foodie_khiladi signs off for the day in a hope to see you in my next blog soon. Till then keep smiling and spreading the smiles.