Emotions, Food, Life

Comfort Foods! Picking some of our favorites….And the science behind it

Comfort foods are something we all love. Are they soul food? Is it southern comfort foods? Maybe Chinese? Oh what about Mom’s home cooking?! Or are you the junk food junkie? Ice cream? Pie? Cookies?

Many people run to different comfort foods but what are comfort foods? Do we only run to them when we are stressed or having a bad day? Do we go to them for a craving maybe? According to Websters Dictionary the definition of comfort food is….

Not liking that only “single” people eat more comfort foods but hey!

My comfort foods vary depending on the time of year and if I am sick or not. I love my “Mommy’s Cooking” when I am sick and just want to be babied. Mind you since I live 750 miles from my mother I have to cook the stuff myself so it does not work as well but still hits the spot. I also find myself wanting to relive a happy moment in my life and will eat a food to help me remember. Like Seaside Heights Berkeley Candy or sausage and peppers or even cotton candy. I eat it and laugh sometimes just to recapture that memory.

Many of my friends have given me their comfort foods. Its interesting to see what everyone has to say. AM says Ice Cream, JW says good pizza {we are East Coast Italians what can we say lol}, Pickles, and anything UTZ he says, JM says potatoes, TD says salted caramel puff corn, WC says caramel corn, spaghetti, mac and cheese with tuna, or mac and cheese with hamburger I believe he was hungry when replying, SN says chicken and dumplings, CD says fried chicken but only when she is stressed or depressed does she crave comfort foods the most or when she is missing someone she will make something they used to make all the time, AA says Mamaw’s mac and cheese but he wants it…Every. Single. Day.

Comfort foods I am finding are not always depression, stress, or missing someone. Sometimes it is recapturing a memory from times long gone or to laugh at the faces we make when we eat them. As you see so many people have so many different foods they go to. Also many like the very same things.

1966 is the the farthest back the term “comfort food” can be traced back thus far when the ‘Palm Beach Post’ used the term in an article they had published. Psychologists have broken this down for us into four separate categories: nostalgic foods, indulgence foods, convenience foods, and physical comfort foods. Not all of comfort foods are for negative feelings some are used for recapturing a memory or alter a mood. This in turn can help some individuals who do not need heavy medications.

The identification of particular items as comfort food may be idiosyncratic, though patterns are detectable. In one study of American preferences, “males preferred warm, hearty, meal-related comfort foods (such as steak, casseroles, and soup) while females instead preferred comfort foods that were more snack related (such as chocolate and ice cream). In addition, younger people preferred more snack-related comfort foods compared to those over 55 years of age.” The study also revealed strong connections between consumption of comfort foods and feelings of guilt.[9] An article, “The Myth of Comfort Food” asserted that men tend to choose these types of savory comfort foods because they remind them of being “pampered” or spoiled, while women choose snack-related foods because they are associated with low amounts of work and less “cleanup.” It also suggested that women are more likely to reach for unhealthier foods in times of stress due to more weight-conscious mindsets.

The Myth of Comfort Food

Although the quote above states gender and age differences we see that during my own “questioning” of friends and family I have found different answers. You do not know if those are male or female unless I used the term he or she after the initials. You also do not know their ages or ethnicity heck even their region of up bringing. This is based solely on what they crave and looking back on there answers I can see that each one did not answer based on age, ethnicity, or region of up bringing {except the pizza one lol}.

Pork Roll Egg & Cheese {Salt, Pepper, Ketchup is the followed response lol}

Many doctors say that comfort foods are the reason behind Americas obesity epidemic. It is also found that “happy hour” is to ‘comfort’ those after a stressful day. So does this mean that “happy hour” is the cause of Americas alcohol dependency? I don’t think either of these “HELP” the situations however I also do not feel they are the cause.

I found some list that others have made over the years of Comfort Foods by country. These are quite interesting. Take a look…..

Australia and New Zealand
Bread and butter pudding
Braised lamb shanks
Butterscotch apple dumplings
Casserole (beef or chicken)
Chicken soup
Golden syrup pikelets
Honey and oat slices
Hot chips
Lamingtons
Mashed potatoes
Meat pie
Pea and ham soup
Pie floater
Porridge, topped with brown sugar or honey, yogurt, nuts, and fruit
Potato wedges
Pumpkin soup
Rice custard
Roast meat (beef, chicken, or pork with crackling)
Roast potatoes
Sausage and mash
Sausage roll
Shepherd’s pie
Spaghetti
Steak and kidney pie
Sticky date pudding
Vegemite or Marmite on toast

British
Bacon butty – bacon sandwich
Bangers and mash – sausages and mashed potatoes
Egg and soldiers – toast sliced into approximately six to eight pieces lengthwise, to dip into soft-boiled egg yolk
Cauliflower cheese
Chicken Tikka Masala
Cornish pasty
Cottage or Shepherd’s pie
Custard
Curry – India-inspired stew over rice
Egg and chips
Fish and chips
Full English breakfast
Fruit Crumble – stewed fruit with crumbly topping
Lancashire hotpot
Potatoes
Jacket potato
Mashed potatoes
Puddings
Bread and butter pudding
Jam Roly-Poly – suet pudding rolled in a spiral with jam
Rice pudding
Spotted dick – steamed pudding with dried fruit
Sticky toffee pudding
Treacle pudding
Roasted meat, such as roast beef or chicken
Pies
Cheese pie, with potatoes or other savory ingredients
Fish pie
Pork pie
Steak and kidney pie
Scotch egg – hard-boiled egg baked in sausage
Soups and stews
Beef stew with dumplings
Cock-a-leekie soup
Lobscouse or lobscows – meat stew
Potato, leek, and Stilton soup
Stottie cake – heavy, round bread
Toast
Baked beans on toast
Welsh Rarebit – hot cheese sauce on toast
Toastie – grilled sandwich
Toad in the hole – sausages baked in Yorkshire pudding
Yorkshire pudding

Canada
A plate of classic poutine at a Montreal restaurant.
Butter tart / Tarte au sucre – small sweet tart-shaped pastries
Cake
Cheesecake
Chili and beans
Chocolate bars
Cookies
Fish and chips
Fried chicken
Fried rice
Ginger beef
Grilled cheese sandwich
Hamburger
Ice cream
Lasagna
Macaroni and cheese
Nanaimo bar
Pancakes with maple syrup
Pea soup
Pierogies
Pizza
Potatoes such as French fries, Hash browns, Mashed potatoes, Potato chips, and Potato salad
Poutine
Rhubarb pie
Tourtière – meat pie with pork and lard
Scrambled eggs on toast

France
Crème caramel – custard dessert
French onion soup – onion soup with cheese and bread
Gratin dauphinois – potato slices baked with cream
Tomates Farcies – Tomatoes stuffed with ground meat
Nutella – sweet spread of cocoa and hazelnuts
Pâté – cold meat paste
Pot-au-feu – beef stew

My favorite…Tiramisu..Italian Rum Cake

Italy
Gnocchi – small soft dough dumplings
Lasagne – flat noodles (pasta) layered with meat, cheese and tomato sauce
Pasta all’amatriciana – pasta with guanciale, tomato sauce and pecorino cheese
Pasta alla carbonara – pasta with guanciale, egg and pecorino cheese
Pizza – baked flatbread with toppings
Nutella – sweet spread of cocoa and hazelnuts

Japan
Chazuke/ochazuke – rice with green tea
Miso soup – soybean-flavored clear soup
Mochi – rice cake
Onigiri – rice ball
Ramen – soup with thin noodles
Takoyaki – octopus balls
Tempura – battered, deep-fried pieces of meat or vegetables
Udon – soup with thick noodles

Poland
Steamed pierogi, with fried onions on top
Pierogi – filled dumplings

American
Apple pie
Biscuits and gravy
Burrito
Cake and Cupcakes
Casseroles
Chicken fried steak
Chicken and dumplings
Chicken soup
Chili
Chili mac
Chocolate chip cookies
Chowders: Clam chowder, Shrimp chowder, Corn chowder, etc.
Corned beef and cabbage
Cornbread
French fries
Fried chicken
Green bean casserole
Grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup
Grits
Ice cream
Lasagna
Macaroni and cheese
Mashed potatoes
Meatloaf
Peanut butter
Pizza
Pot roast
Red beans and rice
Tamale pie
Tuna casserole

Do you notice anything about these lists? Many of the foods repeat themselves. Also a lot of what my friends and family have stated above as there comfort foods appear on these lists. However all of the individuals I mentioned above are here in the USA and were not born nor raised in any other country. Yes there ancestors come from all over but WE were all raised together in the same grouping of towns. So no matter your region, your age, gender, or ancestral tree; your foods are based on how they make YOU feel and what they make YOU feel during times in your life happy or sad.

So enjoy your comfort foods little darlings all you want. Happy or sad it’s all about YOU and what makes YOU feel good. {Side note here I am NOT saying eat 50,000 calories a day and never exercise. What I AM saying is that it is just fine to eat what you crave or what makes you feel better when you need it. Not everyone needs medications or therapy to feel better every second of every day.}

Be healthy and happy my darlings!

Cheers to a NEW you, NEW thinking, & a NEW life,

Nicole

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