When my brothers and I were little, probably our favorite place to be (besides Bob Evans or this weird attic storage space we called The Hole) was our grandma’s house. This was partly because of how much fun we had there–she had old Star Wars action figures from when my uncles were little!– and partly because of the FOOD.
Every morning was a big breakfast. Scrambled eggs with bacon crumbled on top, pancakes rolled up with strawberry jam, and biscuits that always sparked an eating competition between Alex and my grandpa. Homemade baked goods were constant. But in addition to all of the cooking, my grandma also bought us all the processed food a kid could ever want. It was heaven. Non-stop creamsicles. Boxes of Keebler cookies. Wagon wheel pasta with watery, jarred Ragu. It was all the stuff kids love, and usually by the time we got home we’d made ourselves sick from eating too much.
I know that makes it sound like I lived in an elementary vomitorium, but I assure you, that wasn’t the case. Most of the time we ate well, but my grandma’s house was like a vacation. We got to eat all the things we didn’t eat at home, and that included buttered Pop-Tarts. If you’ve never had this delicacy before, allow me to explain. My grandma would toast said Pop-Tart (we were partial to Strawberry or Raspberry) and then butter the non-frosted side. Then she’d cut it into nine pieces, so each bite was like some sort of decadent treat. The molten sugar filling, the chalky frosting, the salted butter on that crumbly dough…it was perfect.
At home, when I asked my mom if we could put butter on our Pop-Tarts, she was disgusted. “No!” she said. “Pop-Tarts don’t need butter.”
Technically, she was right. Pop-Tarts are terrible for you, and the absolute last thing they need is butter. And now that I’m an adult, I don’t really keep my cupboards stocked with Pop-Tarts. But still, when I think of comfort food, the first thing that springs to mind isn’t mashed potatoes or macaroni and cheese or some sort of homemade classic. It’s a warm, buttered Pop-Tart, cut into nine little pieces, leaving its greasy sheen on my fingers.
So what I’m saying is I understand what Jessica Simpson was talking about, even if no one else did.