Food is the most primitive form of comfort.
- Sheilah Graham
Rainy days require a special sort of planning and essentials to make it through. For me, it takes an amount of willpower and strength (and repeated “You are going to make us late, GET UP”-type comments) before I can even put one foot on the floor. The temptation to pull the covers over my head, sleep til noon, then spend a day on the couch with my grandmother’s quilt, watching crappy tv and eating equally crappy foods (think: potato soup followed by chips and queso followed by cupcakes followed by French fries) is far too strong.
But let’s say you do get out of bed. That leads to the shower that isn’t long enough, the tea that isn’t strong enough, and the clothes that aren’t comfy enough. Figuring out what to wear on a rainy blah day is tough. The pants can’t be too long or they’ll stay damp all day. The shoes have to be safe so you don’t slip and fall (and trust me on this, I don’t own any of said shoes). When all you want to do is curl up in a ball, comfort is key.
Comfort is also key when it comes to rainy day cuisine. I have found, after years of living in Nashville, the most exceptional collection of comfort foods that are best suited to gloomy days…be it due to weather, breakups, mood swings, or any combination of the three.
First we have Amerigo's, and the smoked chicken ravioli. It’s served with a cream sauce that has the perfect balance of depth and lightness, with tomatoes and scallions, accompanied by a flash fried artichoke.
Along that same vein, I urge that Demos' Steak & Spaghetti House is next on the list. They have two stuffed potatoes, one with seafood in a Newburg Sauce and diced tomatoes, onions, peppers, and mushrooms, and one with blackened chicken and a spicy Cajun cream sauce. Both are served with soup or salad, and are just the right amount.
On the days where it’s rainy, yet warm, I prefer a Fried Green Tomato BLT from
Jackson’s. They have a covered patio, perfect for protection from the rain and people watching. A glass of fruit tea or wine, and I forget whatever foul mood I’m in. Another great rainy day sandwich is found at The Yellow Porch, an intimate setting with exceptional food. I have never been there where I ordered anything other than the White Cheddar and Tomato Panini.
My husband wants nothing more on a rainy day than to go to Noshville and have Matzah ball soup. Regardless of the time of day, I’m hard pressed to steer from the French toast when we go there. It’s perfectly cooked and exactly what I search for in comfort food…warmth, texture, and above all else, filling.
On days where I don't want to get out of the house, I rely on beef stroganoff to get me through...this is one of my all-time favorite dishes and there's nothing better than tender beef and creamy tangy sauce to soothe what ails me.
Beef filets, cut into cubes
Fresh sliced mushrooms (optional)
Butter or margarine
½ small onion, finely chopped
1 cup of beef broth, or 1 beef bullion cube
1 16 oz container Sour Cream
Rice or egg noodles for serving
Salt & pepper to taste
Heat 2 tbsps. Butter or margarine in medium saucepan until melted but not brown. Add onion and sauté until tender and transparent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, mushrooms, and cubed steak, and cook until mushrooms are tender and beef is browned throughout (about 5-7 minutes). Remove onion, garlic, and beef from the pan, reserving the liquid.
Add a tbsp of flour at a time to the liquid, until mixture becomes thick. Slowly add hot beef broth, a bit at a time, until fully absorbed. Once it has become slightly thick and creamy, add a dash or two of Worcestershire to the pan.
Return the cooked beef and onions to the pan, stirring into the sauce, until fully mixed. Add the sour cream and serve over cooked rice or egg noodles. Top with green onions if desired.