The Ultimate Comfort Food

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Full Stomach, Fuller Heart

(an occasional series)

I really should write about “turkey with all the trimmings. After all, it’s the American Thanksgiving meal. And I do love it. But Thanksgiving means tons of preparation. And most of my food-associated memories are about comfort foods, SiBY (Simple-but-Yummy) dishes you can fix with minimal prep (or even none, in the case of take-out). So, as wonderful as “turkey with all the trimmings” is, it doesn’t qualify as comfort food.

What does?

Tom & Chee (tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches)! No American food combo so epitomizes SiBY as tom & chee. I even associate it with being sick. Wait, isn’t that bad? Nope, it’s comforting! As a kid, it meant I got to stay home from school and watch Rocky & Bullwinkle while mom fixed me tom & chee. Later, as a college guy, I did it for myself. What could be easier when it was raining felines and canines than heating up a can of Campbell’s Tomato Soup and smash-grilling a massive amount of cheddar cheese between two slices of bread? (A proper grilled cheese sandwich is as flat as that favorite old vinyl record you still listen to.)

I associate tom & chee with romance, too. My college acting teacher assigned me a scene with a former teen beauty queen. Oh, and it featured a kiss. My first thought was, “We’ll have to rehearse that part a lot to get it right.” She invited me over for rehearsal and “a quick lunch” at her apartment, and I thought “Yes! There is a God!” (I was an atheist at the time, but started rethinking that).

When I arrived, I saw two steaming servings of–you guessed it–tom & chee on her dinette table. Forget sharing a bottle at a little café on the Seine (wait, no, don’t—that sounds awesome!)… But anyway, I was certain this would be the moment we fell in love. It wasn’t. Or rather, it wasn’t for her. But we did become friends. And the kiss was cut.

Some time later, however, I did end falling in love, mutually this time, with a smart, talented, beautiful girl who happily rehearses kissing scenes with me–all the time! Oh, and 35 years on, guess what we eat when we want something SiBY?

And when we need a quick meal away from home? We often end up at a Cincinnati-based comfort food chain that makes delicious sandwiches and soups. They’re named for their specialty:

Tom & Chee!

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in Humor, Memoir and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

64 Responses to The Ultimate Comfort Food

  1. One of my favorites for this time of year!!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. ~M says:

    Just had it the other day!

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Hurray for Tom and Chee!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. BluntPathway says:

    I have never had this combination.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Yep, I remember getting that combination on “sick days” too although I opted for a different cartoon when possible. You brought back memories.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. This post just makes me smile, being grateful in just your brand of gratitude. Gotta love those rehearsals.

    Oh, and I heard that in some places gatherings of more than 6 for Thanksgiving are outlawed, though 30 can attend a funeral. So, you guessed it, the tried and true solution. The workaround. On Thanksgiving, friends and family come together to attend the Turkey’s funeral, giblets into the canopic jar-vessel of the oven, and a butter and beer embalming solution goes right into the Turkey. Problem solved…. well, not the 6’ distancing part, though it ramps up to more than 6 people to resolve the rest from there. Cops come to the door? No problem. “Why thank you officers for stopping by to extend your condolences. Mr. Gobbler-Beard would be proud. Won’t you come in and say grace for us?”

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Aimee P says:

    Love me some Tom and Chee!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I grew up with the Chee, but not the Tom. I am allergic to tomatoes 🍅🙁. Comfort food does the trick when you don’t feel well. I still remember my mom bringing me soda and crackers—probably after I sneezed some tomato 🥣 soup.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I meant “sneaked” some tomato soup, but sneezed works too.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I once did a sermon on grilled cheese sandwiches. Likely tom and chee is the most perfect food and I’ll bet could cure most illnesses.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. My mom had a Girl Scout recipe that was sort of tom & chee rearranged. Heat the condensed soup (w/out water or milk), add cheese, and stir until it melts, then pour over toast. They called it “Blushing Bunny” (a play on “Welsh Rarebit” 😉 ) It was my favorite “Mommy meal.” ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  12. feistyfroggy says:

    There is nothing like comfort food. One of my favorite meals is Tom & Chee! I also have nostalgic memories of being home sick and given this comforting food. My cartoon of choice though was Underdog!

    Liked by 3 people

  13. Looks like delicious! Happy Thanksgiving! Michael

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Relax... says:

    The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show rocked!! And, whether Tom & Chee or Mac & Chee, one’s down-sick days (or blizzardy days!) were tolerable!

    Liked by 2 people

  15. GP Cox says:

    I remember coming in after shoving the walkway or building an igloo fort and having this for lunch – what could be better!!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. pastorpete51 says:

    Oh I fondly remember my mom making this for me when I was small. Sadly the old stomach no longer tolerates the tomato soup but grilled cheese gets to make an encore about twice a month! Happy Thanksgiving to you and your bride!

    Liked by 2 people

  17. No I believe I pherfer this over turkey any day. 😊

    Liked by 2 people

  18. I love tomato soup and grilled cheese. I dip the sandwich in the soup. Though I have to admit, the day after Thanksgiving I grill a turkey and dressing sandwich…. I can’t wait for it already. Happy Thanksgiving!

    Liked by 2 people

  19. That’s definitely a good comfort food choice (and I rather like the “tom and chee” name). My other comfort food (I’m hesitant to admit) is Mac and cheese. Not the kind that grandmother makes from scratch, but the crap that comes in the box. It’s awful for you and is probably barely real food, but lord it hits the spot when I need it.

    Liked by 2 people

  20. Lucie says:

    And the funny thing is is that tomato soup when we’re sick, is one of the worse soups we can put in our sick tummies. But what did we know, we were goofy kids. Have a good Thanksgiving, Mitch. 🦃😊

    Liked by 2 people

  21. Perfect combination ❤️

    Liked by 3 people

  22. You’re such a guy. My comfort food is CHOCOLATE.

    Liked by 3 people

  23. You are correct! That is the American all time favorite. Mention it to anyone and you see a dreamy, longing look. I’d rather have that then turkey any day.

    Liked by 2 people

  24. Nancy Ruegg says:

    Another comfort food my brother and I liked: creamed tuna on toast. Sounds awful now!!

    Liked by 2 people

  25. Carla says:

    I also grew up with tomato soup and grilled cheese. I at it so much that I do not eat tomato soup any more, but I do still love grilled cheese.

    Liked by 2 people

  26. kathy says:

    I love grilled cheese and tomato soup! It certainly is a comfort food!

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Simple and delicious! Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Oh yes, I love this comfort food too when I”m sick! I’ve never heard it called Tom & Chee..but now I have a nickname for it:) Thanks for sharing this. Mary

    Liked by 1 person

  29. clcouch123 says:

    My mother’s favorite meal and a favorite of mine, too!

    Liked by 1 person

  30. I think tomato soup is one of those things that has so much flavor, even if you haven’t been feeling well, you can still taste it! Of course, it’s a law in Vermont that you must use sharp Vermont cheddar on the grilled sandwich!

    Liked by 1 person

  31. Logi Bones says:

    Tom & Chee … Yummy ❤ ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  32. Pingback: Food/Lifestyle:The Ultimate Comfort Food — Mitch Teemley – The Urban Fishing Pole: Cigar Blogger, Lifestyle

  33. Akolzol.com says:

    What do you think about coffee ? Should be nice

    Liked by 1 person

  34. I actually just bought tomato soup to make some grilled cheese today! love this combo!

    Liked by 1 person

  35. endean0 says:

    A brilliant combo I have it about twice a week. In the UK we have a thing called Worcester Sauce, not sure if you have the same in the States? Its great with both of these, put it on the cheese before grilling and splash it in the soup as you serve.

    Liked by 1 person

  36. Pingback: My 10 Biggest Hits of 2020 | Mitch Teemley

  37. My comfort food is basically anything with chocolate and potato, cassava, or jackfruit chips :9

    Liked by 1 person

  38. Pingback: 67 – Food * – Beach Walk Reflections: Thoughts from thinking while walking

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