Cooking in the Comfort Zone

What’s your idea of comfort food? I’d have thought there'd be a wide range, enveloping our variety of childhoods, but it seems not. Recently, psychologists at the University of Sussex conducted experiments to create what they called a “Comfort Index,” wiring up volunteers with electrodes and then feeding them various foods while scanning their responses. The top contenders for comfort were beans on toast, sausages and mashed potatoes, tomato soup, chicken and mushroom pie, and macaroni and cheese. How about you? I loved tomato soup as a kid, but clam chowder was my all-time favorite. Chicken pie, yes, but mushrooms are out for my boy (every time he asks, “What’s this?” it’s a prelude to rejection of whatever “this” is, and they’re near the head of his list). Beans on toast? Not even in my top ten. Macaroni and cheese, of course, is a hardy perennial. It’s been in the news lately, too. More to come next week. . .

1 comment:

writeit said...

My idea of comfort food is pretty much anything that lingers most of the day in the oven so the house smells good. I connect it more with colder days than with warmer ones. On a hot day, a cold ale can be a comfort. In days when I ate more beef, a good pot roast would have been a first choice. On a recent morning walk, I stopped at the market, picked up a chicken, and came home to fix Chicken and Portobello Mushrooms Oven-Braised in Barbera, from "The Wine Lover Cooks Italian," and it was comforting for us. One of my favorite books for CF is "Delia Smith's Winter Collection: Comfort Food," and her web site is valuable too.

Bill S.