Gary Gardner (grgardner) wrote,
Gary Gardner

The Power Of Comfort Food

They call it comfort food for a reason.  It's something that reminds us of a good thing, or a good place -- it takes us back in time and lifts us up when we are feeling down.  It even has magical powers.  Everyone has their own special comfort food or foods.  Often it's something Mom used to make, or that was special growing up.    If one is lucky, one can find a restaurant that makes it or a close substitute.

Like a lot of folks, I have more than one "comfort food".  One is my Mom's chocolate chip cookies, which I'm always lucky to get when I go home to Utah.  Sometimes I bring a bag back with me and freeze them and dole them out one at a time so they last.  They taste just as good as they did when I was a kid, and try as I might, I've never been able to replicate them, even following her recipe word for word.   Another is a good burger and hand-cut fries.  Most everyone knows that I'm a burger fanatic.  You might as well call me "Wimpy" after the Popeye character.   A really really good burger and fries is comfort food for me.   Here in Olympia, the best I've found is at an ancient dive (where else?) in downtown Olympia called Ben Moore's   It hasn't been redecorated since 1940.  The main art is an aerial photograph of Olympia taken in 1939.  The seats in the booths have butt dents that have been worn in since it opened.   It's yellowed from generations of smokers who would still smoke if it were allowed.   It's my kinda place.

Last week when the State Senate released and passed their draft state budget I was very fortunate to find that all but one of the pieces I'd asked for on behalf of my clients was in it.  I even thought I'd scored on all of them and told the clients the good news.   But as it turned out I was wrong and I misread a section and what I thought was included wasn't.   I dug and dug and sure enough, it wasn't there.   My client was not going to be happy with this, especially since I'd already said that it was included.

I called my client to break the news, but wasn't able to connect.   I was really depressed.  I needed some comfort food.  I drove myself down to Ben Moore's, sat at the counter and ordered my usual -- cheeseburger, with swiss chese, no mayo, and extra fries.
And then something magical happened.  While I was enjoying the hot fresh hand cut fries and the juicy burger and mulling over how to break the news to the client, I got an email on my phone from a staff member for the Senate Ways and Means Committee telling me that:  lo and behold the missing funding was actually there, buried in the baseline budget and not called out in the line items of the budget legislation.   They got their funding in the Senate budget and I was right after all!   Maybe it was the power of the Ben Moore's burger and fries that did it, I don't know.  Did eating comfort food make good news bad?  Or maybe eating it changed the outcome.   In any case I got a double dose of goodness on Friday -- I didn't have to do a mea culpa with the client, and I got a great cheeseburger and fries.

Such is the power -- and the magic of comfort food. I might need to make this a new ritual...

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