Comfort food can take you in many directions and take many forms. To me, this could be a nice scoop of mom’s cauliflower cheese, bubbling invitingly on its journey from oven to table; for you, perhaps, a perfectly made chicken Caesar salad, creamy but light and crunchy, reminiscent of childhood holidays. Sometimes the solace – for some of us, if not all – is just in a butter-coated digestive cookie.
Too often the phrase is associated with stodge; dinner roast, mashed potatoes, baked beans on toast and anything covered in cheese. Of course, these foods are comforting. But reducing the concept to a list of foods high in carbohydrates and dairy products and “guilty pleasures” is irrelevant. Comfort food is not about the food itself; this is where your mind goes when you smell your first puff of a dish, and where it stays until your last spoonful.
Whether it’s a particular brand of cookie, a simple bowl of noodles or a complex curry with spices, eating comfort is all about feeling connected to family, to our past and to the House. It’s food for the soul on the stomach, sheltered from trends and fashions, and it’s often quite economical: As The Telegraph’s food columnist Diana Henry puts it, “no one looks for comfort in truffles “.
And even when your life revolves around cooking for others, it seems those rules are still in effect, as evidenced by the personal choices shared by our favorite chefs, writers and bakers on these pages.
Telegraph Food’s Favorite Comfort Food Recipes for Winter
Melissa Hemsley: Tinola Soup
“This soup has been my favorite dish since I was a child. My mom grew up in Manila and moved to UK over 40 years ago. Tinola soup is full of garlic, ginger, onions, vegetables and a delicious broth. Mom prepared it most often by cooking the chicken in the broth, then removing the meat to put it back in the pot. She would give us a bowl of broth first, then you got the hearty veggies and the chicken after – you can add rice if you want or wrap it with potatoes. It’s really delicious, easy and heartwarming. We still hoped mom had done a lot so that we could have more the next night after school. Sometimes she would add traditional ingredients – Asian squash, green papaya and chili leaves. They were much harder to retrieve in the 1980s in Surrey!
Serve it in bowls with a small bowl of soy or tamari with lemon juice and lots of pepper, so everyone can put whatever they like and adjust to their liking.
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This notice was published: 2021-11-30 13:02:30