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FOOD 101: What Is Comfort Food

Banana Pudding
Banana pudding is one of America’s favorite comfort foods. Here’s the recipe for this version. Photo by M. Sheldrake | IST.
 

A tweet from FoodTimeline.org sent us to the site to drill down on the origins of comfort food.

According to the site, the first record in print is in the magazine section of the Washington Post of December 25, 1977: “Along with grits, one of the comfort foods of the South is black-eyed peas.”

Judith Olney’s book Comforting Food, published in 1979, began the discussion.

There is no single definition or list of “comfort food.” Food psychologists note that provide solace and food feelings, and are typically items our loved ones cooked for us when we were children. Thus, favorite comfort foods are based on where you grew up and your heritage; for example, hush puppies or grits for Mississippians and bagels and lox or cheesecake for New Yorkers.

Typically, comfort foods are:

  • Smooth & creamy (easy to chew and digest)
  • Carb intensive (give us energy)
  • Fondly remembered from childhood (good food memories)
  •  

    Here’s what comes up on the list of all-American comfort foods on About.com:

  • Apple pie
  • Baked beans
  • Banana pudding
  • Beef stew
  • Brisket pot roast
  • Chicken and dmplings
  • Chicken pot pie
  • Chicken soup
  • Chili
  • Chocolate chip cookies
  • Corn on the cob
  •  

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  • Fried chicken
  • Gelatin (Jell-O)
  • Green bean casserole
  • Hot dogs
  • Ice cream
  • Macaroni and cheese
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Meatloaf
  • Potato salad
  • Pumpkin pie
  • Shepherd’s pie
  • Spaghetti
  • Tomato soup
  • Tuna casserole
  •  
    Hey, what happened to grilled cheese and rice pudding?

     

    Mackenzie-mac-cheese-230r
    Another all-American comfort food: macaroni and cheese. Photo courtesy Mackenzie Ltd.

     
      




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