Mashed potatoes? Macaroni and cheese? Grilled cheese? Ice cream? Toast cut into soldiers?
What’s your comfort food? What do you reach for when you’re suspecting the beginning of an evil cold, feel that the world has ganged up against you, or are generally feeling sorry for yourself?
Come on. We’ve all been there. I hope we don’t stay too long in those places, but we all visit them occasionally. Most of us reach for our own it-makes-me-feel-better-and-I-don’t-care-if-it’s-bad-for-me food.
I’m convinced it has something to do with the texture of the food. For most, it’s smooth, creamy, and slides down the throat easily. Ease of preparation and eating also determines comfort food. As much as I love moussaka, it takes too long to prepare. Feed me now! As much as I love mussels, I don’t want to fight for my comfort food. Feed me now!
A few years ago when I was teaching English as a Second Language classes, I asked my multicultural class about this topic. This was a little eye opening. For some, any food was comfort. Reality check. Others described unfamiliar food that was their solace. One of my favourites was crackers mashed into a cup of cocoa. I haven’t tried that one yet. Once again though, the soft, swallow-it-whole texture is evident.
Every culture not only has its own food, but its own comfort food. A survey by the British television program Good Food revealed that good ol’ bangers and mash was the number one comfort food in Great Britain, closely followed by fish and chips. For my Chinese colleague it’s chocolate. A colleague from Chili reaches for bread drenched in bacon drippings. A mound of couscous is solace for an Algerian friend while an Egyptian friend reaches for a baklava-like pastry.
My comfort food is custard. Bird’s Custard powder. Imagine my delight when I was introduced to add-boiling-water-and-whisk custard. Instant comfort!
I’ve told you my comfort food, now you tell me yours. Make yourself a nice, comforting cuppa and share what you reach for when in need of a food hug.