Why Food Comforts Us
Now that autumn is falling upon us, the darker, cooler days can make us feel a little gloomy. It's the time of year that, despite our efforts to avoid packing on pounds, we gravitate toward hearty meals.
Home cookin' does keep us warm and warmth makes us think of friendliness, thus making all those winter blues disappear. We all have a different idea of what comfort food means, though usually it's recipes we enjoyed in our youth.
Why? Think about it. Most kids are served chicken noodle soup when sick. Thus, it's become synonymous with being cared for and has become a universal comfort food. It's food that just makes us feel good. Typically, feel-good food is rich, isn't too spicy, is served hot and "sticks to the ribs" — meaning it will fill you up and is satisfying. Because of this, it's usually high in calories, fat and carbs. What first comes to mind is pastas, pastries, breads, meatloaf, casseroles, potatoes (scalloped, mashed, cheesy, baked… ); the list goes on.
Whether we eat these hearty foods after an active day of sledding or a stressful day at work, we all know what it's like to eat emotionally. When we're stressed, angry, heartbroken, homesick or sad, the bottom line is that we miss our mommy. And mommy used to make all of our favorite foods when we were feeling down. It's all about nostalgia. A lot of times, we're taken back to a loving memory from our childhood when we eat these foods, and that's what is ultimately making us feel so warm and fuzzy.
While we don't advocate packing on the pounds during the winter months, there's no harm in seeking comfort in some good old-fashioned grub once in a while.
A few of our favorite classics
What are your favorite comfort food classics?
What time of year do you seek comfort food the most?
More comfort food recipes