Comfort food can mean so many different things. Most people think of it as food that they ate regularly as a child. Something special or wonderful that their mother or grandmother cooked that filled their home with the aroma of security and happiness. Chowing down on a version of it later in life brings back that warm fuzzy feeling.
As a Southerner, most of my friends still eat their comfort foods regularly. Mashed potatoes, mac and cheese, turkey and dressing, warm rolls and butter, pecan pie, fried peach pies. The list goes on and on. These are staples of a Southern rural country kitchen.
I love all of those foods and learned how to make all of them at the apron strings of one of the best Southern cooks around, my mother. (Although, I still can’t make fried chicken that tastes like hers. I blame it on the hormones that they pump into chickens now to make them gigantic. Remember when you could go to the store and buy a two pound fryer?)
Traveling expanded my horizons and my taste buds. As a self-professed foodie, I enjoy trying and cooking all types of cuisines. There are very few foods that I won’t try. (Just look at the size of my butt!) I have eaten my share of fries with gravy in Canada and sushi and sashimi in Japan (BTW, they use their hands to pick up sushi. We Westerners seem to love chopsticks though.)
But sometimes, comfort foods have absolutely nothing to do with your childhood memories. I never had Thai food until I left Tennessee to go to college in Florida. I never ate FANTASTIC Thai food until I moved to NYC. When I order or cook a dish with Penang curry in it, I can feel my blood pressure lower and I have that warm comforting feeling as if I were a child again. (Explain that Mr. Freud!) Those flavors didn’t appear in my life until I was in my twenties, but somehow can comfort me as much as when I make a big bowl of dressing. (No, not stuffing, dressing. Look it up!)
What’s your favorite comfort food? Can you make it yourself or do you go searching for it?