My image of comfort has always been a cold, snowy evening in front of the fire, the dogs snoring at my feet and supper simmering on the stove. There is no cat in this picture. Then a few months back, a neighbor called to say she had just saved a stray kitten from the jaws of her dog. Would I please take it?
Let me be clear. I am not a cat person. But this is how a wild little kitten, half dead and infested with fleas and intestinal worms, wiggled his way into my life. Five baths and one vet visit later, I named him Jerry because it seemed to fit and I already had a Tom (my husband).
But let’s get back to supper on the stove. A big part of my idea of comfort, of course, is cozy food. This is a universal concept—good eats and a full belly are primal comfort—and safe, delicious foods are the focus of this issue.
So let’s dig in. Food editor Beth Hillson works her usual culinary magic in “Comfort Food Makeovers,” where she re-creates favorite recipes into gluten-free, allergy-friendly better versions of themselves. In “Slow Cooker Meals,” Dina Cheney shares her very tasty chicken dinners. In “French Baguettes,” Rebecca Reilly shows how easy it is to make authentic French bread without the gluten. In “Fried Rice, 4 Ways,” Matthew Kadey remakes classic Chinese take-out into healthy, allergy-friendly dishes you can quickly whip up at home. Jules Shepard gives you super-easy recipes for sweet indulgence in “Romantic Desserts.” And Jessica Goldman Foung delivers DIY healthier fries in “Fresh Fries.” These amazing recipes were created to expand your repertoire of safe and tasty comfort foods.
It took about a week or so before Jerry got comfortable in his new home. Then his true nature started to shine. This cat loves to snuggle. In fact, he is the most snuggly animal I have ever seen. He kisses people’s faces, he stares transfixed into their eyes, his purr rumbles the room. Every night, he follows me around, whining until I sit down—because he wants to curl up in my lap.
So I am broadening my picture of comfort. It’s still a cold, snowy evening in front of the fire with a delicious supper simmering on the stove. But now along with the dogs snoring at my feet, there’s a cat purring in my lap.