WE ALL know this, the comfort of eating. Moments when we are enraptured by the perfect bite, where flavors explode in your mouth like firecrackers. When you find yourself closing your eyes and ‘humming’ with glee just because what you just ate tasted so good!

All cultures have some form of food-go-to at during certain times or season. Pag mainit, don’t we all want a taste of halo-halo? Tapsilog and all the other -silog food rule breakfast--along with bulad with suka and of course sinangag. PMSing women need something sweet and/or sour. I know guy friends who want that celebratory burger or pizza or steak or lechon whenever something difficult has been accomplished!

We have to admit, food is pretty much a part of our life experiences. We eat when we are happy, sad, excited, depressed, scared, name it! In a way, we are all emotional eaters. We do not just eat to nourish ourselves, we also eat when ‘feel’ things.

Quite honestly, I can only count on one hand the number of people that I have met who do not eat in between meals as REGULAR practice. I was quite amused that they only ate three times a day. Hehe. But not to take things lightly, there really is such a thing as emotional eating. It is defined as a maladaptive behavior when a person resorts to increased food intake when dealing with negative emotions. The concern for emotional eaters is that there have been studies linking it to binge eating and bulimia. Let it be known that the eating disorder is real.

But I still think that we just really like to eat most of the time. Why do we find comfort in food?

1. Eating is a happy adventure.

There are so many foodies out there who derive pleasure from gustatory experiences! The process of exploring new tastes and flavors does not only expand our usual menu, it is also a way new cultures. It broadens our knowledge about a people, it introduces us to a new palate that we can either appreciate or reject, depending on our own taste.

I always make it a point to try a dish at least once before I say that I don’t like it. Unless I find it really repulsive, like eating a rat that was caught in someone's backyard. Eeew. But then again, who would want to it that, right? I believe that it is a good thing to try local food whenever you are in a place for the first time.

Eat like a local, or try the food the place is famous for, at least. I am pretty sure that each culture has something that we find appetizing. Try that. After all, what can be more authentic that eating sushi in Japan, laing in Bicol or camaro in Pampanga?

2. It is a form of reward for surviving major hurdles and for getting things done.

Let's face it, life is not easy and we fight the fight everyday so that we can keep up with the demands of each day. We are besieged with many challenges and disheartening experiences and more often, we really have no choice but to face it and do our best to get through it.

When you have had a tough time and managed to survive to live another day, wouldn’t you be stoked to reward yourself with some glorious food? I would! Never mind that most of the time it is in the form of a fatty, carbohydrate loaded, calorie-rich treat, don’t you deserve that tasty pat on the back? There should be nothing wrong with capping off a demanding day with something that allows you to celebrate your achievement regardless of calorie count. Besides, celebrations like this do not come every day. We know when we need it and when we absolutely deserve it!

3. The comfort comes from the memories that come with eating what we eat.

We attach memories to food. When we eat certain dishes, we are reminded of good, warm, happy feelings that comfort us and make us feel better and assured that everything will be okay. I always get the most likes and reactions whenever I post a picture of the lugao and tokwa’t baboy that I ate at: (fill in the blanks).

I am pretty sure when in Davao, most of us will have one answer to that. Remember the uproar and sadness when we learned that (fill in the blank) has closed forever? It marked the end of a lifetime of spaghetti, four season pizzas and the Buy1 Take ! Halo-Halo!!!!

We all have a go-to local place that reminds of our happy childhood days. Whether it is still existing or now defunct, we are reminded of good things when we eat there or remember having ate there. Whatever our food choice, we end up feeling better because the gustatory reminiscence ushers in that feeling that we got from days that make up pleasant memories. A good place in time that somehow lends us the good vibes that we need to kick that dark, gloomy, ugly feeling that has been looming over us like a dark cloud.

And then all is well. Until next time.