Take Comfort

“Some foods are so comforting, so nourishing of body and soul, that to eat them is to be home again after a long journey. To eat such a meal is to remember that, though the world is full of knives and storms, the body is built for kindness. The angels, who know no hunger, have never been as satisfied.”
Eli Brown, Cinnamon and Gunpowder

I recently asked my friends what their ultimate comfort food was, and received an array of answers, including:

– Macaroni cheese (this was mentioned the most)
– Cauliflower cheese
– Roast dinner
– Custard
– Chocolate
– Crisps
– Curry
– Hot cross buns
– Scones with cream and strawberry jam
– Spaghetti bolognase
– Lasagne…..

I also thought about my own comfort foods and came up with my top 4:

– Hot rice pudding with strawberry jam
– Butterscotch angel delight
– Tinned ravioli with grated cheese
– Hot buttered white toast.

What do these all have in common? For me, they are simple dishes – both in time taken to prepare and also in flavour. Each of these could be made in 5 minutes and have only a couple of different flavours, and those flavours are not complex. They are also simple to eat – only one piece of cutlery (or none!) required, and they could be eaten curled up on the sofa. They also all have childhood memories. When I eat them I am eight years old again, and life is a lot more straight forward. Generally speaking they are not very healthy, with foods high in sugar and/ or carbs winning hands down.

Whilst these criteria could be applied to many of the comfort foods my friends listed, some of the foods buck the trend. The criteria least met on my friends list was the ‘simple dishes’. Perhaps they are hoping somebody else will cook them the roast dinner or lasagne, or maybe for them part of the comfort is in the cooking. I love cooking, especially when I have a good amount of time for it. But for me part of what makes a comfort food so comforting is that I can have it so soon!

Inspired by my friends, today I made some macaroni cheese. I realised that not only had I not eaten it for years and years, but I had also never made it. And also I didn’t have any macaroni. So I adapted slightly and used wholewheat penne. I made a roux, included a couple of cloves of chopped garlic (intentional); about 3 tsp of nutmeg (unintentional….well the quantity was unintentional); and lots and lots of chunks of cheese. The sauce was so cheesy it looked more like a cheese fondue (mmmmm. Cheese fondue…). Stirred it all up with the pasta, put a load more chunks of cheese on the top and wacked it in the oven. It was brilliant. I feel truly comforted.

5 thoughts to “Take Comfort”

  1. Three letters.

    K. F. C.

    But really for me any kind of rich fast food is great – and it’s to do with the anticipation of comfort (after a hard day’s work, knowing that I’ll get an easy-to-obtain meal that hits the spot). So Chinese food, pizza, it’s all good.

  2. Bacon sarnie – i know there is quite a few schisms around the best way to make em, but for comfort just bacon, and lightly buttered fresh white bread.
    Mac and cheese (the way mum used to make it) for my wife.

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