Whether it’s stress, anger or sadness, I normally find myself turning to my favourite comfort food (chinese chicken curry) to improve my mood as well as a glass of my favourite red.
As you might expect, comfort food differs from person to person. There are those who like Mac N Cheese and those who prefer a steak dinner as a comfort food.
Many of these nostalgic foods are typically high in carbohydrates and calories and if consumed too often can lead to a negative effect on your health. But don’t worry about this too much. The key is everything in moderation which is why as well traditional comfort food favourites, we have also provided you with a series of heathy comfort food options.
Each culture has their own type of food that brings back memories of childhood or times when things were perceived to be going great. Soups and stews for instance are typical of what you may find in the Eastern part of Europe and also in some of the colder climates such as Germany, Austria, and Northern France.
I watched a documentary recently that traced the origin of certain foods. The program discussed that fact that activists are getting attention rignow because of their stance on the supposed “appropriation” of some cultures due to the adoption of these comfort foods in modern society.
Although really deserving of its own topic of discussion, we are not going to concern ourselves too much with it here. Far more interesting is actually exploring different comfort foods by preparing them in your own kitchen!
History of comfort food
Some of the history of comfort foods in America can be traced back to specific areas of the world. In the American South for instance you will find some dishes that are considered comfort foods that originated in West Africa.
The methods to produce these dishes may be a bit different but the samecomponents and techniques remain the same. It is amazing how over the centuries these dishes still remain relatively the same despite the distance and the availability of ingredients in both countries.
There really is no specific history of “comfort food” per se as each culture has their cultural bias towards what may be deemed acceptable. Smoking and curing fish is not something you would find in Northern Italy for instance as the influence would be more Germanic and have more of a cream based sauce along with a potato influence.
Science behind comfort food
Next time you sit down to your favorite comfort, you might want to give some though to the way it effects your brain.
The psychological effects of food are something that continues to fascinate the brain scientists as well as anyone related in the psychological fields of study. Some foods have such a strong affect on the human body that they have been equated to a narcotic or a very powerful drug; yes they are truly that powerful.
Never under estimate the power of a well prepared meal served at the right time to relieve emotions or to conjure up very strong emotional feelings. What happens when you are eating something that brings you comfort at a psychological level is that the brain stimulates the hippocampus.
The stimulating of the hippocampus can bring up very strong memories both positive and negative. In this case the positive memories are activated and the emotions associated with those memories are also brought into play.
The very smell of a nostalgic meal can make a person feel good when they were having a bad day. Sights, sounds, and smells all play into the role that stimulates these emotional responses. However, if you are just eating to cover up or deal with your emotions then you may be going down a path that will lead to problems with your health in the future.
As well some foods have known and very powerful stimulus effects on the brain. For instance, chocolate can stimulate the area of love and comfort in women. For men, this is typically stimulated by the consumption of steak and potatoes. The reason behind this are varied and honestly the research is notconclusive either way as to why these foods cause such a powerful reaction in the brain.
Nutritionists and psychologists are looking into how these foods are being used in marketing and the relation to the obesity problem that is spreading among the modern world. Obesity is definitely on the rise and that is part due to the way that food is marketed as well as the emotional stress we all have to deal with on a daily basis
Is Comfort Food good for you?
You probably know the answer to this already Clearly, if you eat a lot of comfort foods over a long period of time without being balanced with your nutrition then you will start to gain a lot of weight. These meals should be consumed in a way that will not cause an undue health concern for you and your family in the future.
Basically, you can eat these meals as long as you also keep in mind your overall intake of other healthier choices. Eating consciously will save a lot of trouble for you in the future. If you can figure out ways to make these dishes healthier then by all means feel free to modify them to do just that.
The recipes that you will see on this website are classic comfort foods. However, each recipe has a certain twist or a bit of flair to them that you may not find anywhere else.
This will hopefully keep you interested!
Sticking with the past may be a good way to honor someone’s memory but adding that flair of your own to these dishes may help establish your own legacy. Comfort Food recipes shouldn’t be considered a museum but rather a nod to the past while giving yourself permission to enhance these dishes to your liking.
After all, if you don’t like a particular comfort food recipe because of some ingredient then you can just replace it with something you do enjoy. As long as it doesn’t dramatically alter the taste of the dish who is to say otherwise?
Now you know all about the history of comfort food and how to consume it healthily, why not take a look at some of our most popular comfort food recipes:
Finally, if you’d like to get in touch we’d love to hear from you!