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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Mason

Comfort Food

Updated: Apr 5

When I turned 30, my oldest friend Laurie – we had literally known each other since we were infants – threw me a “this is your life” themed birthday party. After friends were introduced one-by-one and I guessed their identities, we had a wonderful meal of comfort food. Or, as Laurie put it, “everything you loved to eat when you were 9.”

For me, that included Pop-Tarts, macaroni and cheese, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, Table Talk Pies, and Hoodsie Cups.

Comfort food isn’t necessarily what you loved to eat when you were 9. However, it’s the kind of food that brings you comfort – the food that reminds you of hearth and home or a time you might feel nostalgic about.

Often, there are stories behind our favorite comfort foods. For me, Table Talk Pies were a huge treat because there was only one serving per box. One little pie just for you. And Hoodsie Cups – small ice cream cups, half chocolate and half vanilla – were a staple at many 1970s-era birthday parties where I lived. They even came with a little wooden spoon.

The OED‘s first reference for comfort food is from a Washington Post article published in December 1977:

Along with grits, one of the comfort foods of the South is black-eyed peas.

And its second reference, from a 1984 issue of Bon Appetit, is another nice example:

Split Pea Soup with Smoked Ham, although it has become an international ‘comfort food’, is traced to French-Canadian cooks in Quebec.

Of course, everyone’s list of comfort foods is going to be different, depending on likes, dislikes, and cultures. The Spruce Eats has published a list of popular American comfort foods, which includes items I wouldn’t have thought of, like banana pudding and tuna casserole. I’d love to know more about other cultures’ comfort foods.

What’s on your list?

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1 Comment

Cheryl McCarthy
Cheryl McCarthy
Apr 05

Definitively Shepard’s Pie, with one can each of corn niblets & creamed corn, which my French Canadian grandmother called “Chinese Dish”. We to this day have no idea why 🤷🏼‍♀️

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