In the realm of culinary delights, there’s a special category that goes beyond mere sustenance: comfort food.
It’s the kind of food that wraps its arms around you after a long day—a food hug, if you will. Hey, that’s got a nice ring to it.
But what exactly makes a dish comfort food? Let’s dive taste buds first into the five quintessential attributes that give comfort food its soul-satisfying essence.
1. Rich and Fulfilling Flavors
First and foremost, comfort food is all about rich, fulfilling flavors.
These are the dishes that are generously seasoned and full of heartwarming tastes. Nothing bland! Bland = blasphemy.
Whether it’s the deep, savory flavors of a slow-cooked stew or the sweet, velvety taste of a chocolate pudding, hot cocoa or the satisfying crunch of your favorite cookie, comfort food tantalizes the taste buds and leaves you feeling content.
I don’t know about you, but I feel comforted just reading this.
2. Simplicity and Accessibility
One of the hallmarks of comfort food is its simplicity.
These are not dishes that require exotic ingredients or utilizing your oven, stovetop, microwave, air fryer, toaster, blender, immersion blender, and food processor all at the same time (though, we’re darn close to an all-in-one appliance).
Comfort food is accessible; it’s made from common ingredients that many people have in their kitchens. Think of a classic grilled cheese sandwich or a bowl of buttery mashed potatoes.
These meals are straightforward to prepare, and they get the job done.
3. Nostalgia and Sentimentality
Perhaps the most defining attribute of comfort food is its ability to evoke nostalgia.
For many, comfort food is inextricably linked to childhood memories, family traditions, or specific moments in time. It could be your grandmother’s apple pie recipe, the tomato soup your mother made when you were sick, or that bowl of porridge from Goldilocks and the Three Bears.
These foods transport you back to moments of happiness and security, providing an emotional connection that transcends the mere act of eating.
4. Serotonin Producers
The science people say that eating sweet, starchy foods coaxes serotonin, the chemical that the brain releases when it’s being nice that makes us feel calmer, and decreases the stress hormone cortisol.
Studies from said science people show that folks feel less depressed, anxious and irritable after consuming carbohydrate-rich foods.
But remember, everything in moderation.
5. Indulgence and Treat
Lastly, comfort food often represents indulgence, or as the seven deadly sins go, gluttony. I, for one, think they need to add an eighth sin: judgment of indulgence and gluttony.
Where was I? Oh yes, it’s the food you turn to for a treat, to pamper yourself after a stressful day, or to celebrate a special occasion. Kick your usual fare to the curb and replace it with decadent cheesecake, a plate of crispy fried chicken, or a serving of creamy pasta.
You deserve it.
🚨SHAMELESS PLUG ALERT🚨
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Time to get comfy.
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