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Comfort Food


dougery
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I was wondering what everyone's comfort foods are. Not downer foods for when your sick or feeling bad (I've got congee for that), but true blue comfort foods that flood you with warm memeories and a full tummy. Foods that say "home" to you.

Mine would have to be baked spaghetti with garlic bread and a glass of ice cold milk. It seems like whenever I make this I flashback 20 years... all of the windows fogged up from all of the humidity from the pasta being boiled, the room temperature seems to much warmer from the baking pasta and bread. Friends and family always seemed to come hand in hand with this dish as well.

"Live every moment as if your hair were on fire" Zen Proverb

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Since your question has been asked and answered in many forms so frequently here on eG, I was curious to learn more about the idea of "comfort foods" .. and, to be sure, they are, for each indidiual, quite personal from their own childhoods .. mine are not even particularly unusual: chicken soup with matzo balls, macaroni and cheese, chocolate pudding ... here is just a snippet of the article I read:

Many people assume comfort foods are eaten when a person is sad or lonely. "The opposite is often true," Wansink said. "People are more apt to seek out comfort foods when they're jubilant or when they want to celebrate or reward themselves."

But the kinds of foods that give comfort may vary with one's mood, according to the Illinois professor. A person may crave pizza when happy, reach for cookies when sad, and open up a bag of potato chips when bored.

Adults hanker for foods that connect with specific personal events ("My mom always gave me soup when I was sick") or to people in their lives ("My father loved green bean casserole"). Some foods stir vivid reactions when tasted or smelled or come to be associated with personal identity (T-bone steak is "strong and all-American" to many men; tofu isn't). Whatever the trigger, the emotions evoked by food are powerful factors in the human drive to eat -- and overeat.

Maybe the better question would be "what are your favorite ethnic comfort foods based upon your own personal experiences growing up?"

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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hmmm... ethnic comfort foods? Since I my mother is Japanese my favorite "ethnic" comfort food would be Katsu-donburi, but my favorite "americana" semi ethnic food would be baked spaghetti. does this make sense?

"Live every moment as if your hair were on fire" Zen Proverb

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Since your question has been asked and answered in many forms so frequently here on eG, I was curious to learn more about the idea of "comfort foods" .. and, to be sure, they are, for each indidiual, quite personal from their own childhoods .. mine are not even particularly unusual: chicken soup with matzo balls, macaroni and cheese, chocolate pudding ... here is just a snippet of the article I read:
Many people assume comfort foods are eaten when a person is sad or lonely. "The opposite is often true," Wansink said. "People are more apt to seek out comfort foods when they're jubilant or when they want to celebrate or reward themselves."

But the kinds of foods that give comfort may vary with one's mood, according to the Illinois professor. A person may crave pizza when happy, reach for cookies when sad, and open up a bag of potato chips when bored.

Adults hanker for foods that connect with specific personal events ("My mom always gave me soup when I was sick") or to people in their lives ("My father loved green bean casserole"). Some foods stir vivid reactions when tasted or smelled or come to be associated with personal identity (T-bone steak is "strong and all-American" to many men; tofu isn't). Whatever the trigger, the emotions evoked by food are powerful factors in the human drive to eat -- and overeat.

Maybe the better question would be "what are your favorite ethnic comfort foods based upon your own personal experiences growing up?"

GG, very interesting! I, too, have noticed that there are so many posted inquiries and so many meanings to comfort food. Home food.... usually that conjures up ideas to me of what I don't care for. I avoid any restaurants whose claims to fame are home cooking.

For us, comfort food has come to mean favorites of ours, in our adult life together, rather than memories from childhood.

When I make white truffle risotto, for example, my husband makes a comment about this being comfort food to him! Potatoes are comfort food to me, and the memories are not from childhood. (I guess if I were to make connections between comfort food and childhood, it would be Italian-American dishes like spaghetti and meatballs and other pastas... funny, when I think comfort, I think starches.)

I agree that comfort food for each individual is quite personal, but I tend to think of it as individual to one's past or one's history more than to one's childhood. I know I'm weird about this... I tend to have less favorable childhood memories than most, and the same is true for my husband.

Thanks for the snippet from your reading!

Life is short; eat the cheese course first.

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I love chicken n dumplins, fried chicken, collard greens, pan fried okra, black eyed peas, chicken fried steak, pork chops, ham biscuits and chocolate meringue pie.

I don't think I need to tell anyone what region of the country I'm from. :biggrin:

it just makes me want to sit down and eat a bag of sugar chased down by a bag of flour.

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Maybe the better question would be "what are your favorite ethnic comfort foods based upon your own personal experiences growing up?"

My favorites include sweet dairy noodle kugel, baked farmer cheese with walnuts and raisins, whitefish salad on an onion bagel, chopped liver and of course cheesecake. :wub:

"Some people see a sheet of seaweed and want to be wrapped in it. I want to see it around a piece of fish."-- William Grimes

"People are bastard-coated bastards, with bastard filling." - Dr. Cox on Scrubs

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My favorite comfort food is bread pudding, way ahead of anything else. Next would be real southern fried chicken with mashed potatoes and milk gravy, green beans cooked southern style (i.e., really cooked) and biscuits with home made butter or my grandmother's "light" rolls.

Gads, I just had dinner and now am salivating for something I certainly do not need....

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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I was wondering what everyone's comfort foods are. Not downer foods for when your sick or feeling bad (I've got congee for that), but true blue comfort foods that flood you with warm memeories and a full tummy. Foods that say "home" to you.

I think of soups first of all - chicken soup, beef or veal bone soup with numerous vegetables and perhaps barley or some other grain or pasta, split pea soup. And borsht, which is part of my heritage but which I came to enjoy in adulthood.

Then, I think of pancakes and French toast.

I guess I could think of peanut butter and jam sandwiches - but not enough usually to actually make one.

I think of yogurt.

I think of orange juice, if drinks count.

I think of my mother's home-made apple pie.

I think of pot roast.

I think of ziti with tomato sauce and meatballs.

Basically, I think of the things my parents cooked when I was a child.

And then I have comfort foods that don't say "home" but comfort me, anyway, partly by connection with the country that became my second home for two important years of my life, Malaysia, which is characterized by Malay, Chinese, and Indian foods. So a Chinese Roast Chicken Noodle Soup is comfort food, as is a Malaysian Asam Laksa and a South Indian masala dosa. Throw in Thai Tom Yam Gung, too.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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Lebanese food-- but only homemade will do. My grandmother was an amazing cook but my mother never learned her secrets, so I usually have to make it myself or visit one of my aunts.

Honestly though, nearly every time I take a chance and sample hummus or kishk or labneh or kibbeh or baklava or nammoura that wasn't made by someone's grandmother or in my own kitchen my heart sinks and I want to start weeping. It's a very specific craving when it hits, a very familiar hunger that can't be satisfied by anything else.

In a pinch, I'll take coffee with cardamom, sweet mint tea sipped from a glass, pistachios, a semolina and yogurt pudding that can be made in a flash and drizzled with rosewater and orange flower water, and anything flavored with anis.

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I know that my appetite is tied to my mood, because the last thing I can think of when I get truly depressed or truly manic is food. I've been diagnosed with bipolar affective disorder, so mood stabilizing medication keeps me from swinging too far in either direction.

However, there is a big difference between mood and emotion. Emotions will trigger food cravings - sadness causes me to reach for anything chocolate. When I'm feeling worn down, I want a big bowl of wonton egg drop soup or pasta with butter, garlic and cheese. When I'm happy, I can go for just about any ethnic cuisine - particularly Tex-Mex or Italian, but any Asian, European, Mediterranean or Latin will do in a pinch.

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Bread pudding above all else.

My beloved, deceased grandmother used to make a version of pork tenderloin that consisted of pounding the pork very thin, breading it, and frying it in lard (kinda like schnitzel, I guess). Anyway, she always just called it "pork tenderloin". I miss it so.

Apple dumplings.

Sweet biscuits.

Peanut butter & marshmallow squares. :wub:

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I was wondering what everyone's comfort foods are. Not downer foods for when your sick or feeling bad (I've got congee for that), but true blue comfort foods that flood you with warm memeories and a full tummy. Foods that say "home" to you.

Mine would have to be baked spaghetti with garlic bread and a glass of ice cold milk. It seems like whenever I make this I flashback 20 years... all of the windows fogged up from all of the humidity from the pasta being boiled, the room temperature seems to much warmer from the baking pasta and bread. Friends and family always seemed to come hand in hand with this dish as well.

The windows dripping and fogged are integral to my comfort food memories, too! I think it was a combination of waiting hours in anticipation for the food, the cold weather and that special spice- Mom-love. :wub: The steaming pot would either contain green split-pea stew with ham or white bean soup with ham. MMMM...Mom n- oinky goodness.

Shelley: Would you like some pie?

Gordon: MASSIVE, MASSIVE QUANTITIES AND A GLASS OF WATER, SWEETHEART. MY SOCKS ARE ON FIRE.

Twin Peaks

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To me, comfort food is food that makes me feel pampered and cosseted by mom, so it has to be cooked by her, or by me using her recipe, although my cooking can never really be her cooking.

Since my mother only really cooks Chinese, my comfort foods are Chinese. And my all-time favorite comfort food that mom makes is red-braised, five-spice-seasoned, falling-apart-tender chunks of pork shoulder, which I heap onto my bowlful of rice with an extra ladle-ful of the rich and fragrant braising sauce and -- this last detail is a must -- eat with a spoon like a little child.

Because this dish also happens to be my father's favorite comfort food (that my paternal grandmother used to make), mom makes it a lot.

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Smoothly mashed creamy yogurt rice with mango pickle.

vathalkuzhambu (concentrated tamarind juice with lots of dried red chilli peppers) rice with roasted pappadams(not fried)...

rava (semolina) dosas with onion sambhar and coconut chutney

upma (usually semolina) that is slightly overcooked and piping hot..so still mushy...with lime pickle..the one made from stale bread is also my favourite..

tapioca with green chillies and lemon juice is sun dried and then deep fried..these are called 'vadams'...the sun drying process...usually over plastic sheets..on our terrace... occurs during a very short window...peak summer in india..go figure...i am fond of fried vadams..but i am most fond of the liquidy..gooey..pearly chilli-lime tapioca mix prior drying..my grandmother always kept aside a bowl of it before piping them on the sheets before dawn...when i get back from school..usually 4ish...i'd have to rush before my cousins did... to peel some of the half sunbaked vadams...they'd still be gooey on the inside and kinda chewy on the outside....it takes about two days for them to dry completely, you see...and kinda chewy on the outside...

mangoes..ripe and sweet..pit, skin and all..and oh....sweet...

soft idlis drenched in milagai podi (dried red chilli + sesame + an assortment of dhals) mixed with sesame oil...the idea is to soak the idlis in the chilli-oil mix so that the outside is crusty with chilli-sesame flakes..but the inside is bland..some people dont like the hot chilli..alternatively...you can mix ghee and sugar for dipping the idlis...or just dunk them in sambhar and chutney

pakoras ..onions dipped in spicy batter...piping hot ..during the ghastly indian monsoon season, i'd be dripping wet by the time i come back home from school...splashing puddles and dancing in the rain..while my grandfather dries my hair..grandmother would make the pakoras..i could never eat them after she passed away...

weekends are when the idli/dosa batter is made...it has to be fermented and it was usually made in huge batches...when it was still fresh, it made great idlis..by the second day, the batter isnt good enough..unless you want rock hard idlis..that just wont do..so it slips into its next avatar as dosa batter..after one day of crispy dosas..it isnt good enough for dosas either..so now it becomes uthappam batter...basically thicker dosas with a slight sour taste to it because of all the fermentation...you top it off with chopped onions, green chillies and cilantro. Well..you still have some of the batter remaining..what do you do...you make appams..distinctly different from the keralan variety...this is called kuzhi appam..kuzhi literally means hole...it has a special utensil..seven depressions in a huge iron pot...think indian style yorkshire puddings....fill them half way with oil...drop the batter..with or without onions/greenchillis and pick'em up when they are a golden brown..

i have more..but i am afraid i cant go on..after my grandmother died...we had a 'schedule'...a very precise timetable...fucking killed the joy of eating...

edited to add: so many references to 'grandmothers' in this thread...anyone else thinking what i am thinking?

Edited by Lalitha (log)
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One of my favorite quickie foods is fresh peanutbutter and strawberry jam on buttered toast with a tall glass of WHOLE milk (strange... almost all of my comfort foods include milk)

"Live every moment as if your hair were on fire" Zen Proverb

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A lot of them are favorites from childhood made by my mom or using my mom's recipe: meatloaf, pot roast, split pea soup, minestrone, tapioca pudding.

But I also have things I've discovered as an adult that I find very comforting: risotto, homemade macaroni & cheese, a steaming hot bowl of pho, miso soup, lasagna.

Generally speaking, I find soup rather comforting. I love the warmth and the huge variety available. Maybe it's that most soups are in some way salty.

"I just hate health food"--Julia Child

Jennifer Garner

buttercream pastries

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aged four, sat on an upturned bucket outside the house, my mum washing the dishes inside, just above me in the kitchen. I held two biscuites , malt, with a cow imprinted each. The sun was warm and down at the bottom of the garden a train went by, my grandfather driving. Whoop Whoop, it went past.

How can i get that feeling back?

Martial.2,500 Years ago:

If pale beans bubble for you in a red earthenware pot, you can often decline the dinners of sumptuous hosts.

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Comfort food....

My Mom's cooking when I was young. Pate Chinois (French Canadian version of

shepherd's pie) and tourtiere.

My 70 year old mother still makes tourtiere for me and my four siblings every

christmas. They make their way from Ontario to Seattle and Vancouver Island.

I've made it myself with my Mom's recipe but it's just not the same.

I know it's stew. What KIND of stew?

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The big pot of green split pea on the stove, cornbread in the oven. That smell, coming home from school on a crappy rainy day. That's my old comfort food.

My new comfort foods are lamb stew, spicy lentils, risotto.

hmm. There seems to be a soupy theme going on here.

< Linda >

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Peanut butter toast and orange juice is comfort food to me. I've been eating it since I was a kid and it still taste good. As for a real meal, that would be homemade mac & cheese with green beans and applesauce.

Melissa

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