Comfort food is different for different people, but basically, it’s food that tastes good and makes you feel good.
But it’s not a fine dining experience, nor is it simply an indulgence, like sneaking a bag of M&Ms or scarfing down a Big Mac. There’s a sentimental component to comfort food, an element of nostalgia and tradition.
It can be as individual as your grandma’s brisket, as idiosyncratic as the peanut-butter-banana-and-chocolate-chip sandwiches you ate as a kid (on white bread, natch), and as varied as your culture and heritage – maybe congee in Indonesia, bangers and mash in England, or pasta e fagiole in Venezia.
Macaroni and cheese is a popular comfort food, and it’s definitely at the top of my list.
But I might also crave fried plantains like my mom used to make.
Or maybe pork fried rice and a cherry Italian ice. An odd combination, but I grew up in New York City, back when dinosaurs roamed the streets and before the first McDonalds made landfall in Manhattan.
A family fast food dinner meant a trip to Eastern Gardens, the Cantonese restaurant around the block. After dinner we’d crack open the fortune cookies, check out the fortunes, and then walk down Broadway to a pizza joint for Italian ices.
As far as I was concerned, there was only ONE flavor – cherry. 🙂
Usually comfort food is a simple, home cooked dish that you grew up with – for many Americans, that includes things like chile con quesos, fried chicken, green bean casserole (or really, any casserole in which Campbell’s mushroom soup is a major ingredient).
But it can also be a fast food or familiar local snack — Australians traveling abroad often pine for Vegemite on toast…native Hawaiians living on the mainland soon miss Spam….
…in all its many forms…!
(Remember the Monty Python sketch? 😀 “Spam, spam, spam, spam…” )
What are some of your favorite comfort foods? Something from growing up, or your travels? A home cooked meal, a local diner specialty, a family favorite restaurant?