To me, comfort food is something full of carbs (and fattening) that I eat most of the time during winter months. Why is some food “comfort” food? It varies depending on the age, if you’re a man or a woman and according to your culture as well. For everybody though, it will either bring back childhood memories or a sentimental or nostalgic feeling to the person eating it. Let’s have a look below at a few facts regarding comfort food.
According to Wikipedia, the term “comfort food” was first used in 1977 to describe food that will trigger or remind positive sentiments to the person who eats it, or it will be a relief for negative feelings. From then, studies were made to divide comfort food in different categories, and to find out what are the differences influenced by gender, culture, and age, and if patterns can be observed.
And, indeed, patterns were observed. Many of us choose to eat comfort food in response to emotional stress. Men will go for warm and hearty, meal related food. They will be craving soups, casseroles or steaks either because they’re happy, or in response to positive feelings. Women will have it the other way around. They will opt for snack related-food such as chocolate or ice cream, and will do so especially when they’re sad or moody. Emotional eating and binges tends to affect women more than men, hormones being the culprit.
There was a study made once regarding American people preferences; it turned out P&J sandwiches and grilled cheese (as well as mac &cheese) ranked the highest. We also all love apple pies, baked beans, chicken noodle soup, meatloaf, fried chicken, clam chowder and chili.
Obviously, these preferences change depending of age (it was observed younger people tend to have a preference for snacks while older ones will opt for meals), but also greatly on ethnical origins. For example, people from Asia will opt for dishes with rice, such as minced pork rice in Taiwan, or puto in Philippines. Since Australia and New Zealand and USA were British colonies to start with, these three cultures have much in common when it comes to comfort food. This is why even though far apart, they share their love for Shepherd’s pies and meat pies.
In all cultures, stews seem to be somewhat comforting. There are always some soups, hearty meals with meat or chicken, which lives pretty much everywhere on the globe and something sweet for dessert.
No matter where you’re from, everybody eats. Everybody has this special food that is comforting because it reminds home and childhood memory and brings a sense of safety and warmth. Get your cooking tools and wood cutting boards out and cook something good!