10+ Comfort Foods
What Is Comfort Food? Thousands of dishes around the world fall into this food category. It’s easy to see why — comfort food is delicious! Here’s all about it.
Comfort food. You’ve eaten it a thousand times, but what is it exactly? Here’s what you need to know about comfort food.
From pies and stews to your mom’s special recipe. Comfort food is on another level. Let’s talk about the exciting category.
What Is Comfort Food?
Comfort food is not a precise term; it means different things to different people. What all comfort food has in common is that it often has deep cultural roots and is related to home-cooked meals. Comfort food makes you feel comfortable — like in the comfort of home.
Comfort food is a relatively recent term, as it was first coined in the 1960s, and it refers to food associated with people’s childhood, often hearty, starchy and highly caloric meals. Of course, comfort food looks different to everyone. Chicken soup and mac and cheese can be comfort food for you, but for others, comfort food can be apple pies and quiches. Comfort dishes vary from country to country and from region to region. We can even say every household has its own comfort dishes.
With the health craze that began in the 1900s and is still prevalent, comfort food is associated with unhealthy (but delicious) food. After all, as a society, we’ve cut back on carbs and fats, the very same elements that make food taste comfy. And although there’s no such thing as universal comfort food, we can explore some of the most beloved comfort dishes.
10+ Comfort Food
Let’s talk about ten comfort dishes representative of different cultures and countries. These dishes might not sound comforting to you, but chances are you’ll understand what makes them comfortable once you try them. Other items on this list might just be your ultimate comfort dish.
Of course, we’re leaving out thousands of dishes that make people worldwide feel comfortable, but the list below will give you an idea of what comfort food is all about.
1. Macaroni and Cheese, USA
Everyone has tried mac and cheese once. This is among the most appropriate meals for children, which means that for most people, memories of the meal go back decades.
Mac&cheese is rarely made with fresh ingredients; even though the store-bought kind that comes in a box is pretty unhealthy, it feels like home-cooked food to many people in the country, and it's comforting.
2. Lasagna, USA - Italy
Lasagna is now an international classic, even if it originated in Italy. The layered pasta casserole can vary in composition, but every lasagna is hearty, saucy, cheesy and comforting.
Lasagna arrived in America in the late 1800s - early 1900s, and it became an American classic that goes back to at least the thirteen century in Italy. The layered pasta casserole has a considerable fan base.
3. Arroz Con Pollo, Puerto Rico
Here’s an exciting comfort dish from Puerto Rico and many Latin American countries. Chicken and rice. You’ll find more than one chicken and rice dish in this recipe, and it’s easy to see why. Both ingredients are inexpensive and available worldwide. The Puerto Rican version looks a lot like Spanish paella, as it is flavored with saffron.
4. Miso Soup, Japan
Comfort food is not always heavy or fatty; sometimes, it is even healthy. That’s the case with Japan’s most prevalent comfort dish, the miso soup. Most Japanese people will consume miso soup at least once every day! Miso soups start with a dashi stock flavored with kombu, tofu and other goodies, like mushrooms and, of course, miso paste.
5. Biryani, India
Biryani is perhaps the most popular rice dish in the world, as many Indian people have enjoyed it since childhood. Of course, this spicy version of chicken and rice is colorful, flavorful and aromatic, and it tastes like home — even if you’ve never tried it before.
There are endless variations of this rice dish, but biryani is always comfort food in and outside India.
6. Pozole, Mexico
Pozole is one of many comfort dishes in the Mexican repertoire, where family meals are an essential part of the culture.
Pozole, like all soups and broths, is typical comfort food. This is a hominy soup based on a rich chicken or pork broth, often with shredded chicken (or pulled pork if pork broth is used) and lots of toppings, from lettuce and radishes to tortilla chips. This hearty soup takes a long time to make, so it’s often reserved for special occasions.
7. Pot-Au-Feu, France
Literally pot on the fire, this French specialty can take many forms, but it’s always stewed meat cooked low and slow in a rich broth. The broth alone is comforting enough to bring many people in France to their fondest family memories, and the meat is always deliciously tender.
This dish, of course, goes back to the Middle Ages, and its recipe has changed little over time. It always contains meat, vegetables, spices and aromatic herbs.
8. Meat Pie, Australia
Meat pies are a typical family meal in Australia, and the dish goes back to the country’s origins. These can be baked or fried, but they always have a crispy pastry crust and a hearty filling of meat, sometimes with bacon and onions. Meat pies are more than comfort food in Australia; they’re everywhere, even in convenience stores — they’re part of the country’s culture!
9. Bangers and Mash, UK
Bangers and mash is a comforting dish in the UK. Although other meals, like fish and chips, are a bit more popular, there’s a difference between comfort food and street food — some dishes are both, while others are one or the other.
Bangers and mash a hearty combination of sausages and mashed potatoes. Again, fat and starches represent comfort food in this example. Of course, when served with onion gravy, this is one satisfying dish and the one most associated with home cooking in the country.
10. Ramen, Japan
Here’s another comfort food from Japan. A steaming bowl of noodles in a rich broth and topped with pork belly, bamboo shoots, fish cakes and other goodies is one of the most comforting and decadent dishes in the world. In Japan, ramen is the very definition of comfort food. There are many types of ramen, but they all share a familiar warmth.
11. Apple Pie
Not all comfort dishes are savory. In fact, most desserts are somewhat comforting, and the most traditional is undoubtedly redolent of our fondest memories with the family.
In the United States, nothing tastes like home as an apple pie, especially if fresh out of the oven. Of course, not every American has feelings for this fruit pie, but the apple pie is still stereotypically a comfort dish. What are your comfort dishes?
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