Monday, May 28, 2012

Top 10 Comfort Foods

     In March, Cooking Light had an article that featured the comfort foods of some of the world's most respected chefs, such as Jacques Pépin. They then crafted recipes for these comfort foods, lightening them just enough to make them healthier without sacrificing flavor.  I love Cooking Light's take on food, but I have to say that this article--and the accompanying discussion about your top 10 comfort foods--made me think more than most.

     I just couldn't help wondering about comfort foods.  Obviously, we all have them, but from the foods named by these chefs--soup, gnocchi, kimchi, Lebanese stuffed peppers, mashed potatoes--it's clear that what's soothing to one might not be to another. For instance, I find meatloaf anything but comforting: when I eat meat, I like to know exactly what I'm eating, and the thought of mixing it with eggs makes me feel, shall we say, less than comfortable. 

     There's research on comfort foods: scientists say that men and women prefer to eat different things when it comes to comfort: men like meal-oriented foods like steak and potatoes or soup, while women prefer snack foods that are carbohydrates or sweets, like potato chips or chocolate. Choices based on experience and memory seem obvious; the foods you ate as a child, or those that gave you comfort during hard times or illness, can bring back memories and make them extra-special to you.  But I think there's a lot more to this, and it's pretty fascinating. Does our choice of comfort foods say something about us?  

Inspired by Cooking Light's "top 10" lists, here's mine (in no particular order):
Mmmm . . . mac n' cheese
  1. Kasha Varniskes
  2. Macaroni and Cheese, preferably cooked in an oven until the edges are crispy.
  3. My mom's Thanksgiving dinner
  4. Borsht (I use the recipe from Frugal Gourmet) and challah with butter
  5. Tuna melt, made in the toaster oven, open-faced, on whole-wheat bread with my mom's tuna salad
  6. Sourdough bread, fresh from the oven, with butter (like they serve here)
  7. Refried beans with garlic powder and Lawry's seasoning salt, warm, with melted cheese
  8. My mom's berry or plum cobbler, warm with ice cream
  9. Red beans and rice (I love the kind at Popeye's)
  10. Homemade oatmeal, with brown sugar, cinnamon, walnuts, and cranberries
Red beans and rice: yum!

Now it's your turn!  
What are your favorite comfort foods?

Looking for inspiration and healthy versions of comfort foods? Try these links:


  1. 1. Lasagna (yes I agree with you,Garfield)
    2. Any other Pasta and sauce
    3. Chocolate (Cake or candybar -M&Ms plain)
    4. Tomato Soup and a Grilled Cheese Sandwhich
    5. Macaroni and Cheese
    6. Ice Cream
    7. Mashed Potatoes with lots of gravy

  2. Oooh, tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich! YUM! I loved it when I went to the caf in college and that was on the menu. :) Oh, and ice cream . . . I fully agree! :) Thanks, Julie, for the great ideas!