December 1, 2022

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Take me to a place where love smells

Take me to a place where love smells

I dream of a house that smells of lasagna, coc au vin and mocha cake; A kitchen where my parents are busy; Dishes au gratin… Clearly, winter is approaching.

Published at 8:00 am.

There are things that cannot be avoided. Among them: death, funny comments on the Internet and, in my case, an autumn longing for sweet foods.

These days, I often think of my mother’s baked apples and my father’s ratatouille. I would pay a lot to go home and rediscover the smell of these foods. I wondered why culturally we associate fall with comfort food…

“I don’t think it’s an officially documented event,” laughs Marie-Pierre Gagnon-Girovard. In the same breath, the psychologist said it was something she would look into. (Bu.)

He teaches at the University of Quebec in Trois-Rivières and specializes in health psychology. During our discussion, he offered me four hypotheses that might explain our nostalgic relationship with fall foods. If you too dream of rediscovering the fragrance of your youth, you will surely find something to better understand yourself in the following lines…

(Understanding each other is a lifetime’s work, but doing it through gastronomy seems a little short to me.)

Photo courtesy of Philip Bowin, Archives

Soup… perfect for cold weather

Principle 1: Evolution

It’s not until now, the time when we need a good layer of fat to prepare us for winter, Marie-Pierre Gagnon-Girovard first explained to me. “It was an adaptation! And the foods we find most comforting are the most calorically dense. »

My mom’s mochai cake is a simple survival thing.

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Fall can lead us to richer foods, and that’s a good thing. Let’s say that leaving the oven at 32 degrees Celsius is a little less…

Principle 2: Return to nesting

This time of year can raise a particular need for protection. Not only do we know that the approaching winter has its share of harshness for us, but the psychologist believes that we are also going through a “sad season.”

Photo by Stéphane Bourjos courtesy of Marie-Pierre Gagnon-Grouard

Psychologist Marie-Pierre Gagnon-Girovard

Autumn means lack of light, cold, gray, melancholy, seasonal depression… a certain alienation within itself. If we need comfort, we can turn to the things that made us feel good when we were younger.

Marie-Pierre Gagnon-Girouard, psychologist and professor at the University of Quebec in Trois-Rivières

According to Marie-Pierre Gagnon-Girouard, eating is the best way to comfort oneself. In other words, we get used to it from childhood. We reward food, feasts come with feasts and even the most ordinary meals are synonymous with satisfaction.

I learned a term for this: food neophobia. It’s a fear of novelty familiar to many children…

“Little people are very focused on organization,” the psychologist explained to me. They start eating slowly. Potatoes and pasta are among the first foods they like after compote. Love spaghetti and shepherd’s pie because it’s easy to chew and therefore very comforting! »

Even as an adult, you can find these dishes pleasant – not only because of their texture: “We are in a performance environment on a daily basis, continues Marie-Pierre Gagnon-Giroward. Shepherd’s pie seems to be the opposite. You can’t miss it… or especially pass it by. , note. »

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Goodbye pressure, hello slack.

Principle 3: The Power of Smell

Our memory is strongly linked to our sense of smell. The scents that rocked our youth have created deep memories. This sensory memory is pure, Marie-Pierre Gagnon-Girovart believes.

Memories of food from our childhood are so precious because they take us back to a simpler time.

Marie-Pierre Gagnon-Girouard, psychologist and professor at the University of Quebec in Trois-Rivières

It was a time when we were certainly experiencing challenges, but paying school fees and planning three meals a day were not part of it.

A professor who teaches the psychotherapy of eating behavior points out another important aspect of our emotional memory: “For many people, eating comes with guilt. The fragrance does not come with any heaviness. »

Principle 4: The Power of Marketing

If we owe our fall for comfort food to natural factors, we also owe it to a certain social construct. When you’re standing in line at the grocery store, many magazines recommend gourmet recipes, slow cooker recipes, reimagined classics (always easy and quick to make).

According to Marie-Pierre Gagnon-Giouard, we are not desensitized to this marketing. You make associations, and that’s not bad. As we talk more about local food, it is desirable to promote the products served here…

Squash, potatoes and carrots are plentiful, so take advantage of them to recreate a kitchen that smells of love.

Whatever our intentions, there’s nothing wrong with returning to childhood for a season.

Eating crispy and crunchy doesn’t make much sense.