But what is comfort food exactly? The more I thought about what that meant, the more I realized that comfort food comes in many forms for many different occasions. Sometimes comfort food is weather based, sometimes mood based. Sometimes comfort food is tied with a certain memory and it can most definitely be nostalgic.
During the winter, comfort food is all the talk. People start looking for good hearty soups and stews that will warm from deep within. There is nothing, and I mean nothing, more comforting on a cold and chilly day than a big steaming bowl of stew with a big hunk of bread right out of the oven. Ok, a fire goes a long way for comfort, too. And maybe a heated blanket and toasty warm socks. But still...stew, soup, chili, maybe a casserole.
Scott loves stew and I love that we can make a huge batch and freeze it. Even Elle has gotten on board with stew. She gets very excited to pick out the individual vegetables (peas and carrots are her favorite, she's not sure about celery). Sometimes we'll make a side of rice or pasta to add to the soup/stew to make it easier for Elle to eat. While I've never blogged our absolute favorite stew, other favorites are Willy Strange Soup and Pasta e Fagioli.
Comfort food that's mood based? For me this is a heath bar or a giant bowl of ice cream. More practically, though, it's actually a cup of coffee (or two). Every day I look forward to naptime when I can pour my first cup of half caff and unwind a little. Especially since it has been so cold, I love holding the warm cup up to my cheek and letting the steam warm up my nose. I know it isn't smart to eat my feelings (though many frozen Thin Mints have been consumed during these times), but coffee is so comforting.
And then there are the comfort foods that are tied to memories or nostalgia. Many of these are the dishes I remember my mom making when I was little--the meals that I still request for family get togethers. My absolute favorite is pot roast, mashed potatoes, and peas. All mixed together. With gravy. I'm pretty sure this is my birthday dinner request every single year. Another favorite is chicken salad that I rarely get to eat at home.
When I went off to college I was armed with the favorite family recipes--some I still cook today, some I have adapted to newer tastes. But when I make German Pancakes, I am instantly transported back to my youth when we would drizzle syrup over the puffed up cake and sprinkle chopped macadamia nuts on top.
Mmmm! All this talk of comfort food has me hungry for something now!
How do you define comfort food? What's your favorite comfort food dish?
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