C is for Comfort Food

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.

brisket [194x146]   pb chip sandwich

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.

congee [181x138] bangers mash [187x162] pasta fagiol [181x145]

Macaroni and cheese is a popular comfort food, and it’s definitely at the top of my list.

mac 'n' cheese

But I might also crave fried plantains like my mom used to  make.

plantain

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.

fried rice

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.

fortune cookies [176x127]

 As far as I was concerned, there was only ONE flavor – cherry. 🙂

italian ice

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).

chile con queso [184x129] fried chicken [179x170]casserole [196x112]

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….

vegemite      spam

…in all its many forms…!

(Remember the Monty Python sketch? 😀  “Spam, spam, spam, spam…” )

spam sushi [182x138]spam cubes [181x135]spam kebabs [188x147]

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?

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13 thoughts on “C is for Comfort Food

  1. Mashed potatoes & homemade bread (has to have one side slightly lopsided to look like Mom’s!). No matter the meat and vegetables, those two items were on the table almost every night.

  2. This post is making my mouth water – mac and cheese was the only thing I craved during pregnancy, and is still a big comfort food favorite now. And gravy on anything starchy – potatoes, french fries, etc! Desserts tomorrow? 😀

    • After all that Comfort Food? D is for Diet! (No, not really — but I did decide my will-power might collapse entirely if I researched desserts…) ;-p

  3. When I lived in Hawaii the Spam Musubi you have pictured at the bottom was my breakfast of choice. There’s definitely something comforting about that salty, fatty goodness on top of a ball of rice. ^^

    • I didn’t know the name Spam Musabi – thanks for identifying it! I’ve had Spam when visiting Hawaii, mostly fried-on-the-side, and it was pretty tasty. If I’d grown up with it I’m sure it would be on my list of yummy-things-I-shouldn’t-eat, like bacon ;-D

  4. I really like your post for C. When I was growing up I think I had a box a day of Kraft Mac & cheese during high school. I just loved it so much. (of course back then I actually had a metabolism) Today, I don’t if I really have one any more. I guess I would have to say bread and pasta. I just love them so much (and so do my hips and stomach). My favorite restaruant is Texas Roadhouse because their homemade biscuits and cinammon butter made fresh everyday is phenominal. I have way too many when we go out and I am so bummed that when we move to Alaska there isn’t one there 😦 .

    • I may have to dedicate K to Kraft Mac ‘n’ Cheese. I didn’t discover it until college, and it became a top treat. Back in the day when my youthful metabolism easily dealt with all those excess calories ;-p Sigh. Ah, youth.
      Like you, bread and pasta are my faves. Plus rice. Fresh homemade biscuits and cinnamon butter!? My mouth is watering….;-p

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