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Ideas needed for my big self-indulgent pity party

OK, here's the deal, I've been going through a personal crisis and have made a decision that will ultimately lead to a lot of grieving on my part. Throughout this ordeal, I've not given in to self pity, I haven't eaten my way through a box of truffles or a plate of pasta. I've avoided indulging by opting to eat healthy and if I have indulged I have included lots of exercise to compensate. Now it is time to give into pity and give comfort food its rightful place in my life. Tonight I am going to a bakery to get a decadent dessert, the wine shop for a beyond my budget but I'm worth it bottle of wine and a pizza with lots of cheese. Next weekend I have no plans, so I need some ideas on what to make. What's your go to recipe/favorite food to purchase in time of crisis? I eat almost anything; however, having moved recently my kitchen is ill equipped as I have downsized. So the easier the food is to prepare the better. I love stews, soups and about anything braised. I have a plethora of good grocery stores to choose from if that matters. Thanks

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  1. You sound long overdue for a pity party, you poor dear! I found a new indulgence last night, from pondrat on another thread.

    Combine in a gratin dish:
    Crumbled gorgonzola
    Artichoke (I used canned)
    Heavy cream
    Fresh Sage
    Fresh Parm

    Bake for 20ish minutes at 375, mmm.

    1 Reply
    1. re: yamalam

      That sounds great....add a loaf of good bread to your bakery shopping list to go with that one!

      I have to say, in tough times cooking got me through it. Reading cookbooks, planning shopping lists, going to the farmer's market or shops to buy the ingredients, making the food, then eating it.

      Lately been fond of making a good soup in the slow cooker (beef barley, split pea with hamhock, morrocan chickpea, lentil and greens with linguica). When returning from work, you smell dinner. It's as if someone's been cooking for you all day!!
      Good luck and may your cooking adventures bring you much pleasure and strength.

    2. First of all, I'm sorry for the pain that you are going through and hope that time will make things better. This weekend I made beef ribs in the crockpot with soy sauce, orange juice, five spice powder and honey. So delicious and smells just great. I also think that homemade mashed potatoes are just so comforting. Also, gooey brie and a baquette always makes me feel better.

      5 Replies
      1. re: DaisyM

        Okay, stop right there...hand over that recipe (please)...it sounds SO good, Daisy...did you brown up the short ribs first? must....try....it. Thanks!

        1. re: Val

          I cut off as much fat as possible and then browned the ribs and blotted them. I threw them into the crock pot and added 1/2 cup of low sodium soy, about 3/4 cup of oj and a little apple cider (I had it on hand and thought it might be good), one sliced onion, some five spice powder, and maybe 3 tablespoons of honey. The meat just fell off the bones. I served it over rice and it was terrific....and so easy. I think you can adjust this dish any way you want. I'd probably add some crushed red pepper to it, too.

          1. re: DaisyM

            Thanks much, Daisy...sounds very good!

            1. re: Val

              Beef spareribs or shortribs??
              -oops, this question is for Daisy.

            2. re: DaisyM

              How long did you cook it for? On high or low?

        2. My go to comfort dish is a nice wedge of brie wrapped up in some pastry dough and baked until golden. I eat this with slices of granny smith apple and let the emotional healing begin...

          1. I'm sorry for your crisis; sometimes the best thing is a simple grilled cheese or a great BLT--using the last of these great summer tomatoes. Toast is always healing.

            Supplement with tapioca, rice or chocolate pudding and a GREAT glass (or three )of wine---I'd say something oaky and punchy, or bubbly.

            Sloppy Joes also + love, esp. with crappy soft white buns. Maybe some tater tots along side, and bought cole slaw or bean salad?

            Hang in there, let us know what's working/ not working for you!

            1. My favorite pity party dishes are really great homemade mac-n-cheese with lots of delicious cheese, chicken and dumplings, and really great mashed potatoes (made with skins still on, of course). Serve with a bottle of whiskey, a good book, and ridiculous new shoes.

              1. http://allrecipes.com/recipe/Hot-Crab...

                Serve with loaf of warm french bread and white wine of choice (I always find a nice, warm loaf of bread to be a comfort).

                Feel better!

                1. Back when I was going through stuff like that - way too frequently, but that's what Serial Monogamy will do to you - I would do something like buy a rotisserie chicken and eat the whole thing, and then NOT SAVE THE BONES FOR ANYTHING. My version of reckless indulgence.

                  I think I'd fall back into kid food: blue-box Kraft mac & cheese with weenies, grilled cheese sandwich, stuff like that. Or stuff the Source of My Pain couldn't stand, even to watch me eat, like grilled cheese WITH LIVERWURST. Ha! Take that!

                  1. My most loved (and most recent) wife and I split up a bit more than a year ago. Since then I cook for our princess (who is five) half the time. The other half of the time is varied , but includes:

                    1. A big cheeseburger with quality ground steak, your choice of cheese, the best of (usually homemade burger buns), and the best of the rest that you want to add, plus your best red.

                    2. A simple Japanese meal with hot gohan and maybe seven or eight simple plates - both hot and cold. Best with a good cold beer.

                    3. One large MW artichoke, a dip based on my homemade yogurt, and a really good red..

                    4. Smoked fish and musubi. Cold shots of rum.

                    5. A great German wurst mitt sauerkraut mitt gohan! German beer.

                    6. Big, high cholesterol breakfasts with everything. The best of coffees.

                    7. And perhaps most important, laab and khao niyao. Drink anything and fall over.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                      And what a lucky little princess she is, to have you for a great dad who can cook, Sam! I can't really add anything to this thread as I can't eat when I'm upset or heart-broken...but I'm hoping to pick up on that beef rib recipe!

                      1. re: Val

                        Val, thank you!!! Heatbreak is difficult and I guess best faced by even better food, wine, workouts, and happy memorable times con mi princesa.

                    2. Mac and cheese -- whether homemade or even from the box -- screams self-pity to me. With a side of pigs in a blanket (Hebrew National cocktail franks in Pillsbury crescent dough). Then a pint (or half gallon) of some kind of chocolate ice cream -- probably some variety of Ben & Jerry's. I'm not a big drinker so for me, I rather indulge in all food -- with a Diet Coke to drink.

                      Or another self-pity indulgence for me would be really good eggplant parmesan. Yum.

                      1. Noodles in some form. Pasta with grana and olive oil, some order in Chinese chow mein, the short, succulent noodles you get at Thai restaurants. Carbs, carbs, carbs.
                        Oh, and a box of See's assorted, savor the scotchmellow for yourself.
                        To go with it all, a bottle of red and a bottle of white.
                        Feel better! I am sorry you're going through this, it sucks big time.

                        1. y'know, the process of breadmaking can be incredibly therapeutic, and the smell of fresh, baking bread together with simmering soup is hard to beat. when it's all finished, slather the bread with good, fresh butter and open the window or sit outside to smell the good, crisp autumn air while you eat the hot bread and soup. there are few things more comforting to me.


                          1. All great ideas! I would throw in some Hagen Daaz Dulce de Leche and a big comfy blanket to curl up under. Feel better!!

                            "Let not your heart be troubled,neither let it be afraid"- John 14:27

                            1. Last time I had an extended pity party for myself, I remember making a ton of carbonara -- about a box of pasta a day. Way too easy to make and consume in absurdly large quantities. I've also been known to reach for arroz con gandules (rice with pigeon peas, a Puerto Rican comfort classic); truffled mashed potatoes; Spanish tortilla (like a flat potato/egg omelet, onions optional); and steak and eggs for breakfast or dinner.

                              I'd buy: a thick cup of drinking chocolate with churros for dipping; lengua tacos; Chinese handpulled noodle soup (lamb and preferably incendiary); a good pub burger, sitting at the bar; a juicy pastrami sandwich, mustard, rye, extra pickles. Lots of wine and single-malt.

                              I love thick and/or creamy soups for comfort, but often lack the patience/immediate access to ingredients, so I do take-out: cream of tomato, New England clam chowder, matzohball, oxtail stew...and my host mom in Spain used to make me a sopa castellano that was basically a ton of garlic and eggs, with some chunks of day-old bread and chorizo mixed in. I'm not sure that even sounds appetizing to some, but it was magical.

                              This too shall pass. :)

                              1. I hope this makes you feel a tad better:
                                Get some fresh lasagna noodles and fry them in veg oil

                                Then smother them with chopped black olives, roasted peppers, mushrooms, ground italian sausage, provolone and mozzarella. Bake them at 350 for about 10 minutes.
                                Finish them off with Asiago Cheese Sauce:
                                1 tbsp butter
                                1 tbsp garlic
                                1/2 c cream
                                1 1/2 c grated Asiago

                                Add all the ingreds. to melted butter and heat to a boil

                                Hope you try it, and if not then save it for later! Tutti a tavola.

                                1. My favourite indulgence is a seafood night. Oysters on the half shell, seared scallop salad and boiled lobster. All washed down with the best white wine I can afford. I'm not a big dessert person, but I would buy something decadent (single serving). Get well soon :)

                                  1. Hooray for you! If you're finally beginning to indulge yourself, it likely means recovery is near. When I'm heart broken, the world AND my taste buds are numb. Completely numb. But when they wake up.... ooooohhh.... For me a GREAT dish is lamb shanks with orzo and a huge crusty loaf of artisan bread.... Roast duck with (black) olives (Julia Child's recipe)... A really rich disgustingly dense and moist chocolate cake with walnuts baked into it and frosted with ganache.... Or if I'm on a diet, a nice plate of nicely camelized sea scallops with a pile of fresh asparagus and (well okay, not too much of a diet) drawn butter to dip it in...

                                    Or if I'm in need of a dose of childhood, a nice big *bottle* of chocolate milk with a box of really great graham crackers.... and a nap! '-)

                                    1. Lately I've been under a lot of stress and I've been baking up a storm. In the past week I've made a loaf of banana bread, apple spice cookies with icing, sugar cookies with vanilla-coffee frosting, a coconut cake with mango curd, and sweet potato biscuits. My family has been eating up most of it but I'm also sending some cookies to a loved one in a care package.

                                      Just a thought: if the process of cooking helps you feel better, then consider volunteering at a soup kitchen or making food at home to give to those in need. I know that you can't give homemade food to people at homeless shelters sometimes, but there are definitely places that would welcome your cooking.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: fallingup

                                        Okay I had to give this some thought....soup, always great and feels like a snuggle for the insides. Pasta I think gives you that carb glow of satisfaction....full tummy hard to notice a less than full heart. One of my favorite dishes is chicken in white wine, garlic, stock and lemon juice with a hunk of great bread to sop up the sublime juice....so good....but for me it would have to be a steaming hot pile of homemade french fries, extra crispy with some form of cheese sauce to dip it in, pure indulgance. That and a icy glass of Champagne and I am one happy girl!

                                      2. are you open at all to sweet breakfast recipes? paula deen's baked french toast recipe is pretty indulgent... http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/pa...

                                        if you're a cheese fan, it might be indulgent to go to your local cheese store or best purveyor in your area and put together a sampler platter for yourself to enjoy with some good bread and wine. roast a head of garlic and you're set.

                                        mashed potatoes - red new potatoes smashed with caramelized onions, butter, salt, some gruyere or gouda

                                        cioppino if you feel like dealing with the different seafood

                                        a simple pasta with butter and parmesan is somehow very comforting and indulgent without much fuss

                                        a hankering for my childhood sets off my craving for chicken divan, made the way mom did...oh, and strawberry shortcake (different fruit subbed now) made with that crappy yellow cake in the produce section soaked with some milk then covered in whipped cream

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: Emme

                                          Ooh, comforting breakfast foods are a great idea. Especially since you're planning to indulge on a weekend. Nothing like a big weekend morning brunch. French toast sounds great. Or cinnamon rolls. Yum!

                                          1. re: Emme

                                            Yes, that Paula Deen baked french toast recipe is decadent.

                                            As for mashed potatoes, I love Ina Garten's Parmesan Smashed Potates. Sour cream, butter, half and half and parmesan cheese. Heaven!


                                          2. Amazing grilled cheese sandwiches - shredded great gruyere, pain de mie or the best white bread you can get, brush olive oil on one side of each slice of bread, heat up a pan, put one slice oiled side down, add the grated cheese, put the other slice on top and weigh it down (I use another pan). Then flip when it's nice and toasty brown on one side. Sprinkle some sea salt on top and enjoy.

                                            Also, this mozzarella grilled cheese, dipped in a batter of egg, cream, thyme and salt was incredible:


                                            3 Replies
                                            1. re: MMRuth

                                              MMR, I think your link to the delicious-sounding mozzarella grilled cheese is for the wrong post. I'd love the correct link when you get a chance. Sounds delicious, and there's nothing like a great grilled cheese.

                                              (I did enjoy reading the link you posted, though.)

                                              Tracy, sorry for all you are going through, and good for you for nurturing yourself through it. I second the recommendations for carbs and cheese in any form: homemade mac and cheese, grilled cheese and tomato soup, spaghetti and meatballs and lots of cheese, or really decadent cheesecake. Killer brownies would work, too, since you'd have lots of leftovers, and chocolate does have amazing healing powers.

                                              And, all of these things go really well with lots of wine! Take care.

                                              1. re: bear

                                                Thanks for that - indeed the wrong link!

                                                Here's the right one:


                                                I'll paraphrase the recipe over there.

                                                1. re: MMRuth

                                                  Switch the cheese from mozerella to a classic Gruyere (or Swiss) and toss in a slice of ham (Black Forest is nice) and you've got a classic Croque Monsieur. It too is delicious!

                                            2. Simmer some tomato sauce for a couple hours. Season a good steak. Boil the pasta as the steak finishes. Grate a little extra parm on the pasta. Your favorite bread(s) and a stick of butter. That Big Bold bottle of Cabernet or Gigondas or Shiraz.

                                              Are Little Debbie Nutty Bars distributed nationwide? They always perk me up.

                                              Stuart Smalley is right, "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people like me."

                                              1. Joy of Cooking's apple pie, with Oronoque pre-made crust. For breakfast. Go ahead, eat half at one sitting with a lot of coffee.

                                                1. I love food that is beautiful to look upon, and I have seen the beautiful new crop of pomegranates come out with great joy. This is amplified by the fact that I am actually allowed to eat them right now through a fluke of timing. Here is one of my favorite recipes for fall, gotten out of an old Bon Appetit. This recipe always cheers me up on a gray November day.

                                                  Pomegranate, lamb and butternut squash stew with couscous:

                                                  3 Tablespoons olive oil
                                                  2 pounds lamb shoulder, 1 1/2 inch pieces
                                                  1 large onion, chopped
                                                  1 red pepper, chopped
                                                  3 cloves garlic, chopped
                                                  1 teaspoon ground cumin
                                                  2 cans beef broth
                                                  3 tbsp pomegranate molasses
                                                  1 small can tomato paste
                                                  1 medium butternut squash, chopped into 1 inch pieces.

                                                  Pomegranate seeds
                                                  Toasted pine nuts

                                                  Heat oil in large pot, medium high heat. Season lamb with salt and pepper, and brown in pot on all sides. Remove lamb and reserve. Add onions, red pepper, garlic, saute about 5 minutes until onions are tender. Add broth, pomegranate molasses, and tomato paste, bring to boil. Add reserved lamb, reduce heat, cover and simmer until lamb is tender, about 45 minutes. Add squash, simmer until tender, 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

                                                  Cook couscous according to package, fluff with a fork and add in pomegranate seeds and toasted pine nuts. Serve stew over couscous.

                                                  This goes so well with many red wines, including that beyond the budget but I'm worth it bottle. Something from the south of France would be great (from Cotes du Rhone, Languedoc, Pic St. Loup, or Fougeres. Perhaps a nice rich Syrah from the NOrthern Rhone, or a Chateunneuf du Pape, 2005is very yummy, now that would be a great I'm worth it bottle!) or maybe Spain (I'm partial to Priorato, but a Bierzo would be fun too). The nice thing about this recipe is that you don't actually have to break the bank to find a good wine to go with it. There are many $20-30 bottles that would be wonderful.

                                                  Chocolate of any kind makes a great finish to this meal. I would be inclined to get a big box of my very favorite chocolate truffles or ganaches, something I could eat all night in little bites. I am also in favor of a nice cheese plate before the chocolate finish, with a walnut bread, some dried apricots and Medjool dates, and toasted hazelnuts. Again, this is something that can sit out and be snacked on all night.

                                                  This whole meal is easy, as the recipe isn't hard, and you can purchase a lot of things ready made. But it is very delicious and decadent. Put on some I'm so worth it tunes to cook the stew by, and dance when the music moves you. Choose a great movie that makes you happy (Singing in the Rain is a personal favorite) with a few comforters and cozy pillows, and use a very nice wine glass to do the wine right. Lie around in your favorite bathrobe, with nothing on underneath for a sassy touch if that works for you. And cry if you need to, you are allowed. Sometimes a big sob just clears the air. But always follow up with a big gobful of chocolate, and perhaps more dancing. Because self pity is ok, but self loathing is not. Let the pity happen, but make sure you show yourself some love too.

                                                  Here's hoping this time is short, and that you come through stronger and happier in the end. I think you'll have a lot of CHers with you in spirit, cheering you on...

                                                  1. I'm so sorry for your crisis! I hope everything works out!

                                                    One of my favorite ways to cope with hard times is to prepare something very simple and quick - but elegant at the same time. (makes me feel fancy! :) )

                                                    One time, it was a package of herbed goat cheese and some fancy rye crackers - coupled with your aforementioned bottle of too-expensive-but-I'm-worth-it wine.

                                                    Another time I made an EXCELLENT chicken pumpkin soup. Basically its your normal run-of-the-mill chicken soup, but I thickened it up with a can of pumpkin and used a little extra sage to really up the "comfort." The best part about this one was that it was actually a diet recipe! No guilt! Also, I was able to freeze it in individual portions for future consumption.

                                                    Anyways, hope this helps!

                                                    1. For some reason, when I've had huge decisions to make or am sad, I don't want heavy comfort food. Mashed potatoes and gravy or mac and cheese are for happy times. But when I need soul comforting, I head for my favorite Chinese restaurant.

                                                      I order a huge steaming bowl of egg flower soup or egg drop soup. I adore that soup especially if they make the broth with chicken wings. So flavorful, savory and just perfect for making things right again.

                                                      1. I have to admit to going the nacho route when under duress. I like to keep it pretty simple, the chips are just a vehicle for the cheese. Whichever cheese you prefer, either guac or just a perfectly ripe avocado cut up. Sometimes I do refried beans, sometimes I don't. Sour cream and salsa are important in my scenario. Easy to make, easy to eat and messy enough that you feel indulgent eating them alone with your hands with plenty of paper towels nearby.

                                                        1. I spent a birthday alone one year- and I was never as sad for such a silly reason. I went and bought huge, fat prawns covered in a garlicky pesto, and fresh linguine, a chunk of hot, crusty bread smothered in butter and garlic and a huge bottle of champagne (and a jug of o.j.) - Garlic and carbs were my theme. I do believe dessert was provided by my dear pals Ben & Jerry. One carton, one spoon-no waiting.
                                                          Pity for a bit but then come back to happy- we need you here too!!

                                                          1. I hope you find a peace and energy that you didn't know before this happened. I'm just not certain that using food to grieve is a good idea. Enjoy your food, and hopefully share it and good times with friends, but continue to be good to your body and it will take care of you and your heart, too.

                                                            If you like good reading about food, try visiting Orangette's blog. Uplifting prose and many great recipes.


                                                            1. Steamed Lobster, with lots of drawn butter. Good wine and dessert from the bakery.

                                                              1. Thank you all for your kind words of support and inspiring ideas. It turned out to be part pity party and a reward dinner for making a hard but necessary decision. After reading everything it was a tie between lamb and short ribs. The grocery store I like getting lamb shanks from sells out quickly so I opted for the ribs. Though Daisy M's short ribs sound amazing I opted for the braised rib recipe for From Sunday Suppers at Lucques and butternut squash gnocchi from the most recent Sunset magazine (the mac n cheese and pasta suggestions were my inspiration). The ribs were great, but I wouldn't opt for browning them in the oven if I make them again. I had some left over bottles of red wine and most of the other ingredients so it was a good choice. Loved the gnocchi-though I wished they had turned out a little lighter, it made good leftovers with lots of added parmesan and butter. I will probably be resorting to many of the other ideas that were mentioned for soothing dinners because work has become crazy. Thank you again.