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COMFORT FOOD : Forget frivolous fare. Ignore the exotic. In times of trouble we turn to the familar and seek the solace of home. : Foods that reassure: Big breakfasts. Warm doughnuts. A simple steak. Beef stew. And ambrosia. : A Few of Our Favorite Things : . . . Soup for One

January 24, 1991|RUTH REICHL

Most people seem to think of the sweet, simple stuff of their childhood as comfort food.

Not me.

As far as I'm concerned, comfort food is almost anything my mother didn't make. It's a grown-up pleasure--and a solitary one.

When I'm in need of solace, all I really want is to be left alone with a good book and a good bowl of food. I want to eat with my fingers, eat out of the pot--and I don't want to do the dishes. And although I certainly couldn't tell you why, when I feel really blue I almost always find myself eating spinach and rice. Add some cheese, an egg, and a little chicken soup, and the pleasure is practically perfect.

I'll be ready to rejoin the world almost any minute now.

CHEESE-DROP SOUP

WITH SPINACH

2 cups rich chicken stock (canned soup will not do)

1/2 cup cooked rice

1 egg

Generous handful young spinach leaves

1/4 cup coarsely grated top-quality Parmesan cheese (pre-grated cheese is like sawdust, not comforting and therefore unacceptable)

Salt, pepper

Combine chicken stock and rice in saucepan. Bring to boil over medium-high heat. Break egg into boiling stock and stir with fork. Drop in spinach leaves. Remove from heat. Immediately add Parmesan cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Makes 1 serving.

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