Have you have had a week from hell? You know, the kind when you have a million deadlines approaching, presentations in every class, you’ve got no car because you got rear-ended, and you’re sick as a dog? I don’t know about you, but when I have weeks like that, my body begs for something cheesy, comforting, and downright indulgent. It is the only kind of fuel powerful enough to keep me from burning out in the face of a turbulent week.
This phenomenon in which hard times call for delicious food is quite common. In fact, we can explain it using psychology:
The brain detects a stressful event. This is called a stressor. (Ex: finals)
The stressor will then elicit a coping response, which is anything I do to try and lessen the stressor’s effects.
In this case, the coping response is to seek out a big bowl of delicious, cheesy, and heartwarming food then eat myself into a coma.
This is what we refer to as “emotion-focused coping.” It doesn’t solve the problem per say, but man, do I feel better after stuffing my face with some indulgent comfort food.
See? The need for food in troubling times is completely logical. So it only then makes sense that when you find yourself fighting in the epic battle that is you vs. the world, you need something truly mouth-watering and sinful to make it through.
Last week, when I was having my own “hell week,” my mind sent me a message: “CHEESE. LOTS. PASTA. NEED NOW.”
See? That’s how bad it was. My mind was so beaten up that it could barely form a coherent sentence. Luckily, I’m pretty good at decoding the language of my own brain, so I jumped right on that. The result was this luscious Blushing Mozzarella Marinara.
Now, let’s not get it twisted. This Cheesy Potato Soup is my favorite soup ever, and it’s incredible with or without the bread bowl. It is smooth, creamy, and oh so cheesy. You see, it’s not your typical potato soup. Most utilize cheddar cheese, which is a fine option, don’t get me wrong. However, my soup uses a combination of American & Sharp Cheddar. This is the key, my little cookies. That American cheese gives this an incredible cheesy flavor and creamy, smooth texture like nothing you’ve had in soup before. Plus, that little bit of cheddar gives you just the right amount of tang. Toss in some tender, buttery chunks of Yukon gold potatoes and a handful of scallions for a burst of flavor, and you’ve got the PERFECT potato soup. It’s one of those meals where you’ll go to test a spoonful and you’ll just smile and say, “That’s GOOD.”
Vegetarian recipes are tricky. For one to really be a success, it’s got to satisfy the vegetarians AND the meat-lovers out there. A true vegetarian recipe isn’t just delicious; it’s deceptive. It uses tasty tricks and alternative forms of protein to distract you from the missing meat. You see, with a good vegetarian dish, you forget it’s vegetarian at all. When you’re eating, you shouldn’t be concerning yourself with whether or not your food has meat in it; you should be focusing on how good it is.
Now, that being said, accomplishing a satisfying vegetarian chili ain’t easy. The good news is: this was a task I was willing to tackle. I knew the chili was going to need something special, something to make it so stand-out good & satisfying that the absence of meat mattered not. So what was it about this particular recipe that intrigued me?
There are many edible examples of a match made in heaven: french fries & ketchup, peanut butter & jelly, grilled cheese & soup. But have you ever heard of peanut butter and Oreos? It’s kind of an underground thing. You’ve either never imagined such a thing or you’ve been enjoying this pair in unison since childhood. If you’re in the know, then you really know. This is an understated match. So perfect. So heavenly.
It’s really not that obscure of a combo. Oreos are chocolate cookies. Chocolate goes PERFECTLY with peanut butter. Then you’ve got the crunchy texture of the cookie coming together with the creaminess of the peanut butter. Bam. There you go. It’s simple science, my friends.
When you experience PB & O, stars align. You wind up with a delicious chocolatey, peanutty flavor very similar to that of the Girl Scout Peanut Butter Patties, only much, much better. This takes two all-American comfort foods and blends them together in one super-comfort-food hybrid. It will conjure fond memories, warm feelings, and overall content. It’s feel good food (and it tastes good too).
Peanut Butter + Oreos = A Match Made in Heaven
All you need is:
Oreos (I like Double Stuf!)
Peanut Butter (Creamy or Crunchy? Totally up to you)
To serve it up:
You can gently twist off the top cookie, spread about 2 tsp. of PB on the lid, and sandwich the cookie back together (as I did in my pictures).
You can simply spread the PB on top of the Oreo & enjoy.
Simpler still, you can dunk your Oreo directly in the jar of peanut butter and go to town!
You don’t always need hours of cooking or endless ingredients to make something good. Just slap some peanut butter on an Oreo and bask in the heaven that results.