Good Food Blog
Winter warmersPosted at 3:32PM, 24 November 2010 by Dulcima Mansell - Food writer
It's that time of year again, the heating is on, there is frost on your car in the morning and you find yourself craving a big bowl of your favourite comfort food. Ask anyone to define 'comfort food' and the same adjectives will come up time and again: homely, reassuring and indulgent. But what foods are they referring to? And why do we crave certain foods over others?
I decided to quiz friends and family on their ultimate comfort food and wasn't surprised that, being cold outside, the overwhelming majority listed warm and savoury foods...
I decided to quiz friends and family on their ultimate comfort food and wasn't surprised that, being cold outside, the overwhelming majority listed warm and savoury foods rather than sweet ones. There were, of course, a few mentions of cake, biscuits and chocolate but the real favourites turned out to be all things carb: lasagne , macaroni cheese and mashed potato all proving very popular.
I can split my comfort foods into two distinct groups, those which are a quick fix (chocolate and a nice glass of wine) and those which take time to make, the process of making them being part of the comfort. A couple of very virtuous people said they turn to soup in their hour of need. Soup is far too healthy to feature on my list, but I must agree there is definitely something restorative about making my own, especially if I make my own bread to serve alongside.
Mostly, when I am in need of something comforting I turn to pasta . Lots of pasta. Far more than someone of my size should be able to consume. Pasta was always the food of choice when I came back from visiting my fiancé (when we were long-distance) and I was in need of something to cheer me up. The sauce on the pasta did not matter and cheese was a must.
A lot of people I asked had a strong memory linked to their 'go to' food, such as a friend who spent a few childhood years in Jamaica - his family taking with them a catering sized tub of Marmite to remind them of home. Now he always turns to Marmite on toast when in need of a pick-me-up.
What became clear in my, admittedly rather unscientific, research is that our relationship with food and the feelings it can invoke are personal to the individual and not just about a list of ingredients.
So what is your comfort food of choice? Are you a fellow carb-aholic? Or are you one of the soup lovers of this world? Do you head for the chocolate and ice-cream or do you prefer your comfort foods savoury?