Envy, all you New Yorkers. Tender your wistful sighs. You may have expansive culture and arts, stunning cuisine, ingredients odd and rare abounding, but where the yards stretch wide in suburban Chattanooga, we have basements with 14-foot ceilings capable of holding the ultimate cooking convenience—a second fridge.

Here, just in time for turkey brining, is ours, a 15 year-old Amana side-by-side: full-working order, ice-maker equipped, and rusty in all the right places. Thank you, my sweet, anal father-in-law for upgrading your garage unit and bribing those Sears delivery boys with a crisp hundred to truck it to my house.

Let me assure you, readers, this beauty won’t be all work no play. When Chris finishes his MBA next month, don’t doubt that we will hang a dart board, fill that Amana with PBR, and lounge like sorry SOBs playing cricket and admiring her sweet, cold lines.



Now that I have a baby on board, coordination is going to take a bit more, uh, coordination. So, to begin, I apologize that my first post in four months lacks any food photography, but I have included a pic of my bundle of joy, who is, as his grandmothers report, “cute enough to eat.” Potentially disturbing insinuations aside, let’s talk comfort food. Specifically, other people’s comfort food.

Last night, Chris and I exercised our jaws on the budget-friendly dish Welsh Rarebit, specifically Jamie Oliver’s Welsh Rarebit with Attitude from Jamie at Home: chili jam on sourdough, slathered with a yolk-cheddar-creme fraiche mixture, broiled to golden and dappled with salty Worchestershire. Delicious? Well, here’s the thing, it’s comfort food…for the Welsh.

As a young Pennsylvanian, I enjoyed grilled cheese (brick, preferably) with dill pickles on Sunday afternoons. Southerners love pimento cheese on soft, fluffy Sunbeam. Baseball fans, nachos and yellow cheese food. The French, brie and flatbread. And, the Welsh, rarebit. What do these fromage-centered delights share?

They are comfortable for those who associate comfort with them. Make them for your international friends and expect satisfied, Thanksgiving-dinner-face grins but don’t anticipate oohs and ahhs. After all, comfort food is that by virtue of our comfortable associations with it. All that broiled, salty rarebit warmth didn’t call to mind any memories of hours in front of a fire on a bearskin rug. No, instead, rarebit was forced to stand upon its own gustatory merit and to face its cheese-on-toast reality.

So, no, rarebit did not emerge as the luxurious, simple go-to I was dreaming of. For my starch-drenched-in-cheese comfort, I’ll take mac-and-cheddar or parmesan-crusted garlic toast, thanks.

But, gentile rarebit, do pop by for tea again sometime. Won’t you?