"Food is not about impressing people. It’s about making them comfortable."
~ Ina Garten
March winds are howling outside, everyone’s worried about the economy, and writing is hard, hard, hard.
We all need some serious comfort, if you ask me.
I could be quite happy with some of this:
Homemade chicken noodle soup.
(photo by mooshee85)
Datsa one spicy meatball!
(photo by chocolatemonster)
or even this:
There’s nothing like homemade mac and cheese!
Okay, twist my arm, and I’ll make short work of this:
Marry me, warm, moist fudgy brownie.
(photo by jazzijava)
It’s all good. Whatever gets you through the day, gives you pleasure, fills a void, cures the blues, or rewards you for a job well done. Comfort food always hits the spot. It’s easy to make, inexpensive, and, in this day and age of techno chi chi poo everything, uncomplicated.
We all have our favorites. According to University of Illinois-Urbana marketing professor, Brian Wansink (you may remember Brian from the soup personality survey I posted last January) — the choice of comfort food is gender specific. Men seem to prefer hearty meals like their mamas used to cook, while women like snacks requiring little or no preparation (amen to that).
But whether it’s meat loaf or dark chocolate, our comfort food preferences were formed in childhood, so this particular pleasure is a conditioned response. So true. Butter me some toast and slather it with guava jelly, and I’m back in Grandma Kim’s kitchen. When I’m under the weather, spoon feed me some chicken noodle soup like my mommy did. What about some soul soothing fried chicken, a little crisp on the outside, so very moist on the inside? Or the best creamed tuna on the planet? I received my fair share of both, courtesy of Aunty Ellen.
The psychological implications are fascinating. Ask a man what his favorite comfort food is, and you’ll learn not only about his childhood, but about regional, ethnic, or socio-economic factors still influencing his eating habits today.
Take me (please). I’m all for organic, heart-healthy stuff — but when Len’s traveling for business and I need to feel less alone, I crave this:
A "zip pack" from Zippy’s, a chain restaurant in Hawai’i.
(photo by newyork808)
Or maybe this, which reminds me of the time, at age 3, I sang "The Unchained Melody" in a saimin restaurant, and received hearty applause from all the customers.
Saimin is unique to Hawai’i.
(photo by James Rubio)
In this time of uncertainty, my free and easy childhood days in Hawai’i beckon, in the form of food that feels safe and familiar.
Typical Hawaiian meal: laulau, kalua pig, poke, poi, lomi lomi salmon, and haupia.
You haven’t lived unless you’ve eaten hot malasadas from Leonard’s Bakery.
(photo by newyork808)
Favorite snacks from Hawai’i, compliments of my family.
I’ve saved a place at my table for you all month long, so I hope you drop by often. There’ll be a little pasta, a little pizza, a couple of doughnuts, a special guest — and a bottomless bowl of mama-huggin’, I love-you-as-you-are comfort.
So, tell me: What’s your favorite comfort food?